September Stories at Fern Review

Our warm host on Monday evening, September 19, 2011 was Anne Forester. Margo McLaughlin provided gentle music on her Hang drum between stories.Jacquie Hunt led off with a Spanish story told in the first person so effectively that we felt transported to Madrid, where it took place, to witness, with her, the distress of the gentleman she observed daily with no overcoat in the cold of winter. Her concern for this man, a widower whose wife had taken his coat to the cleaners before she died, and the solution she found for him by raiding her own husband’s closet, touched this listener’s heart.

Anne Beatty titled her story “Changes and Beginnings – “The PalmTree” a Stuart McLean story about ‘bonding’ with an unlikely object, a palm tree found in a corner store that was not only instrumental in effecting the sale of a home in the nick of time to enable the purchase of the perfect new home that its owner had always dreamed of, but became deeply rooted in that owner’s affection.

Lavana Kilborn took us on a timelss journey, the musings of an aging farmer as to whether events that befell his acquaintances were Good or Bad, depending on their timing, circumstance and eventual outcome. One of those well-travelled, borderless stories to be found world-wide.

“Just Desserts”, (yes this spelling is correct) Andrea Samuels’ story of a vengeful school principal who forced a young pupil to eat a whole chocolate cake in front of his peers as punishment for a minor misdeed had, I suspect, most of her listeners feeling uncomfortably full themselves ! Told with great humour, we cheered inwardly along with the schoolboys’ who witnessed the happening and were glad of the pause before ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Jennifer Ferris’ hilarious telling of another cake story: “The Wedding Cake.” A cautionary tale if ever there was one, with the moral that ordering a cake for a special event must always take place in person. Ordering over the phone can have dire consequences indeed!

After all that ‘storycake’, lo and behold, the teabreak was a veritable banquet, including Patricia’s seasonal plumcake made from scratch which, together with Sandra’s delicacies, kept us lingering, disobediently, in the kitchen after the call to return for more stories.

The first, related by Lee Porteous, once again had us spellbound, this time learning of the merits of the “Electricity Elixir,” a cure for every ailment that could afflict the gullible folk in Chuck Larkin’s story of that name. If, as is asserted, laughter is good medicine, then this story delivered us all a good dose!

A change of pace then with Catherine Sheehan’s Korean Folk Tale of “The Story Spirits”, another cautionary tale, this time telling us the terrors that can befall those who hoard stories instead of sending them out into the world for others to share.

Last,but by no means least, Mary Mahoney brought us “The Maiden Without Hands” collected by the Brothers Grimm in the days when reality, and stories of those times were indeed grim and often gruesome. Featured were all the ingredients of an old-fashioned fairy tale: the devil himself, the promise of gold in exchange for a poor miller’s daughter, trust in the kindness of strangers, loss of limbs and their restoration. A theme with many variants brought into the present by no less a writer than Margaret Atwood according to our mutual friend Google !

submitted by Janna

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