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Papa Joe  ~  Travel Notes

PJ's Travel Notes

From: Papa Joe

To: Storytell

Subject: Tour Notes #16

Date: Sunday, August 03, 1997 10:37 PM

Note: Several folks have asked me what a Vardo is. Vardo is a Romanian word. Those are the folks commonly called Gypsies. Simply, it means 'our travelling home'. This is my second vardo and it is a micro-mini RV. For a more complete description, please see Tour Notes #1 on my website.

July 27th, 1997 Pleasant Lake, Still.

It's Manfred's Birthday. Judy is entertaining here again. She really is entertaining, but for all she says about me not eating, I have two or three helpings of each of her salads. Folks, she never has less than four different kinds. I deeply feel the good-byes to her family and friends as they leave. I'll be here two more nights, but they won't be back until next weekend and I'll be somewhere else. Good-byes are never easy, but this time they seem harder than usual.

July 28th The Northern Suburbs

Back at the daycares in the Detroit Burbs. Today, I've managed to get the Michigan Montessori Training Center to let me do a workshop for their future teachers. I start it off by having them tell "The Old Woman Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything" with me. It's a good full body interactive story, I can teach while we tell. None of these students have ever told stories (at least not formally) before. They were a bit cautious about trying it, but within minutes are as vigorous as any group of preschoolers I've ever worked with. lol I think teaching our future teachers a little confidence in telling is as good as telling the to kids themselves. One hour with them is equal to thousands with the kids.

July 29th Good-bye Pleasant Lake, Good-bye Michigan

Today is my last day here. One last time, swimming in the lake. One last time, watching the birds and listening to the cottonwood trees. One last telling in the state of Michigan. It was an evening performance at the Historical Museum in Troy. Not to surprised that Judy showed up. :) She even brought more tellers. We did the show outside with only a little competition with a loud Air Conditioning Fan. Everyone applauded when it took a break. Now that was a new hook. The Air Conditioner got as much applause as I did.

There is a lot of mixed emotions leaving. Part of me enjoyed being here so much that I don't want to leave. Another part is dying to get out of the cities and back to the forest, but the biggest part is wanting to get back to my wife. Until this trip, the longest we've been parted is a week. It's time to move on. It's not a long move though. Just a few hours South to Ohio.

July 30th and 31st Gibsonburg, Ohio to The Hills of West Virginia

I got in late last night, but got up early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and a face to face chat with Storytell's Judy Dishong. One of the best parts of travelling is meeting you list folks. Judy has a beautiful brick farm house in the country. Tasha and I enjoy wandering around the fields and creeks. There are herons, hawks, egrets, and more birds I've never seen. I enjoyed some mulberries and saw quite a few woodchucks and raccoons.

Tasha nearly had it out with the biggest ol' grandmother woodchuck I've ever seen. I was taking a nap when Tasha started her 'There's a wild thing here' bark. It had gone under the Vardo instead of running off to it's hole. I put Tasha in the Vardo and watched Grandmother Woodchuck head off. I found out why she hadn't run. One of her rear legs must have been broken once and her tail was missing. She could only limp a few steps then had to rest. Took her about twenty minutes to get out of sight. Glad Tasha didn't mess with her. She looked as tough as they come.

I did one show in Fremont (that's Fremont Ohio, not Fremont, NH) and headed off to Granny Sue's place in West Virginia. As the hills returned I remembered another thing I'd been missing. It's so flat in the Midwest. I admit I howled with the thrill of being back in mountain country.

Batsy, Granny Sue might not have the elevation of Moscow Mountain, but she lives deeper in the woods than you do. And she wasn't kidding when she said I could only visit her if it wasn't going to rain. There's no way the Vardo could have climbed up out of her hollow. On my way to her home, I stopped to get gas in town. A young man walked up and asked me if I was planning to tell at his mother's library. He turned out to be Granny Sue's son, Aaron. Too funny! He has most of the makings of a storyteller himself. By the time Granny Sue showed up with her husband, Aaron had told me just about every one of the tales of his home.

Granny Sue and I spent 'til after midnight on this warm midsummer's night talking and getting to know each other. Well that didn't seem to hard. Kinda feel like we know each other from our posts on Storytell. But it was a great way to spend Midsummer night: enjoying the stars in the hillbilly hollow, sitting on the front porch of her cabin. It would have been perfect had Sues been here to enjoy it with us. Oh well, she'll be here next time.


I just got my email and found Granny Sue had already written about my shows in WV (what a sweetheart). So I guess I'll sign off here until next time.

Pax & Amicitia,

Papa Joe

In the Vardo, On the road, USA

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