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Papa Joe  ~  Travel Notes

PJ's Travel Notes

PJ Tour Notes #6


November 1-3, 1996 Fremont, NH to Nashville, TN

Getting ready for an day tour was nothing compared to last spring's work for the summer tours. Still this tour had its own modivator. The temperature had been dropping all day. By sundown it was in the low twenties. We were beginning to worry about the water freezing in the Vardo before we could even get on the road. It was nearly PM when we finally switched off the last light and said goodbye to the cottage and office.

Jack Frost followed us South as we drove through the night. He gave up the chase as the sun rose. We decided to surprise Sues' brother by dropping in for breakfast at his Annadale, VA home. We caught him in his underwear at AM. "WHO?" He and his wife were surprised. On the way back out to I1, we enjoyed a little bit of Skyline Drive. A beautiful road for those with time to enjoy it. We ran out of time. For as the sun began to sink, Jack Frost began his chase again.

We drove through the night and somewhere after Knoxville, TN we finally lost him. Driving pass the signs for Jonesborough, I felt a pull to see the National Storytelling Center. Somehow I didn't think AM would be a good time to visit. Though by now we were way ahead of schedule and decided to enjoy the day in Nashville, TN largest city park. Beautiful Forest. With trails for walking, biking, and horses. Large enough for most people to find some solitude in the city.

We were parked deep in the forest at the far end of a picnic area. Several trails ran close by. At one point, several groups of people seem to be converging on our site, drawn in by the designs on the Vardo and the sound of my tenor recorder. I thought I was about to have an opportunity to enjoy an impromptu story circle, but smiles and waves were all I received. Three teenage boys stopped for a moment, then the moment was gone. How long has it been since traveling tellers could depend on an audience where ever they stopped?

Sues cheered me up by taking me to the Hard Rock Cafe for a pig sandwich. :) About midnight we parked at the library in West Memphis, AR. ready for the show in the morning.

November 4 - 5 West Memphis, AR to Stratford, TX

This was not my first visit to West Memphis, so I was not surprised by the crowd. We had to keep packing the children in tighter. I was glad the Fire Marshal didn't come by. :) Of course I feel compelled to tell Jack's Story. He had visited the town the night before I arrived.

Jack Frost adapted from a Russian Folktale © 1996 - 2014 by Papa Joe

Jack Frost, with his icy hand,

Freezes things all over the land.

The only thing that slows him down

Is breaking through the ice as he moves around.

When he is close, it's too cold to stand.

So no one ever shakes his hand.

That is very good advice.

With one touch you'd turn to ice.

'Cause he's Jack Frost, with his icy hand,

Freezing things all over the land.

The only thing that slows him down

Is breaking through the ice as he moves around.

Jack is sad and lonely too.

He would love to talk with you.

But no one ever stays around,

When Jack Frost has come to town.

'Cause he's Jack Frost, with his icy hand,

Freezing things all over the land.

The only thing that slows him down

Is breaking through the ice as he moves around.

He paints my windows every night.

Covers them with scenes of white.

Flowers and trees each day are new.

Only to melt when the sun shines through.

'Cause he's Jack Frost, with his icy hand,

Freezing things all over the land.

The only thing that slows him down

Is breaking through the ice as he moves around.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, and far far away...

{You didn't really think I was going to give you the whole story here did you?}

Ask. It's a great winter tale. And Tasha Tripod got a staring role. She loves the story, especially her parts.

Arkansas was a blur as the Vardo cruised at its best of the trip. Right through until we gassed up just West of Oklahoma City. Water in the gas. Top speed5 miles an hour. No amount of dry gas helped. Each stop for an attempt at a fix ate away at the safety margin we had left for reaching Stratford, TX. Sue even offered to let me rent a car and she'd catch up as she could. Nice offer, but there were no rental cars unless we turned back to Oklahoma City and that was now hours behind us. Luckily, we found an auto parts store with our gas filter just before the Texas line. We made it to Stratford just8 minutes before show time.,464.9 miles from home.

The Imagination Station is a Children's Museum (almost). They have a Art Car painted by the children, an Arts & Craft Room, and two large empty open rooms they use to display traveling exhibits or for performances. They do not charge admissions. If any tellers are traveling through the area, they are invited to call Evlyn Schmidt (806)96-2380. While they do accept (gladly) donations, they offer free field trips to the schools in all five area states, as well as free show for the public.

This evening's show had a wonderful audience. Some of the folks came0 miles to be a part of it. It is obvious when an audience has had exposure to telling as this one did. They step into the stories with a vengeance. I got a request for the Three Pigs. Sometimes, I think that is THE best loved story in the US. I didn't do the whole thing though. Not enough time. They were happy just to do the part where the wolf blows down the houses. So much fun. There was one very unusual twist. While telling the Golden Goose my princess turned out to be a boy (that happens, I don't worry about the sex of the characters), but he not only didn't want to be a princess, he didn't want to be a prince. He wanted to be a puppy. So the king had a puppy that wouldn't laugh. It was hilarious. The crowd roared.

Evlyn had arranged for us to park for the night at the edge of a corn field just outside town. The dogs loved it. It was their first real freedom in four days. It was nice be doing shows in the same place the next morning. One note about the field trip students. The first group was so great that I forgot to pace myself. I bearly got through the second show. Looking for a good audience? There's a great one in Stratford.


Pax & Amicitia,

Papa Joe

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