My club lady with a vengeance friend has dragooned me again into doing something. I am to be a story teller at Scary Tales and Trails. I think I was the first one she called when she decided she needed story tellers, and I agreed without thinking it over much. After all, I told and acted out stories every day while I taught school. Greek myths, legends of King Arthur, Shakespeare. Anything to amuse the masses. You have to be part ham to teach school.
Then I started thinking more about it. I taught high school. These stories have to be aimed at far younger children. What is scary but not too scary for that age group? Then club-lady friend sent me a list of others who have agreed to be story tellers at the event. The list is pretty daunting.
First and foremost is Covington’s own Andy Irwin. He has won all sorts of awards for storytelling. He has told stories on CDs. And those CDs have won awards. He has been an artist-in-residence at Oxford College and Georgia College and State University. The word artist is pretty intimidating. But that’s not all. He has an agent, for goodness sakes.
Other prestigious story tellers are Nat Harwell. There’re not many people in Covington who have not enjoyed a tale from Nat. Another Covington native, Chip Jernigan, will tell Indian tales around a campfire. How can I compete with that?
Other story tellers will be Carol Durusau (who should know all the good stories as she is in charge of the children’s room at the library), Anne Wheeler (a fellow teacher and story teller), Carol Veliotis (she can tell all about scary art), Wendy and Brittany Harrington, Bill Zancocchio, Molly Shappell and Debbie Dial.
I think I am out of my league.
The event, Scary Tales and Trails, will be from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. this coming Saturday, Oct. 18, at Chimney Park. The entrance to the event will be through the parking lot at the Newton County Health Department. Tickets are $5 for adults and children. The proceeds from the event will go to Chimney Park.
Guides with flashlights and in witches’ hats will greet you at the admissions booth and will take you in small groups to the various areas where there are nine different story tellers whose stories will be based on Southern folk lore and other scary tales. There will be bales of straw for seating. Each story should last around five minutes.
Besides enjoying the scary tales, children, and adults, will be able to roast (and eat) a giant marshmallow under the supervision of veteran Boy Scout Troop Leader Jerry Aldridge who will have the help of some of his scouts.
An outdoor theater showing appropriate movies for Halloween and children, such as “Room on the Broom,” will be part of the fun.
Treats will be available for purchase. Hot chocolate, apple cider, witches popcorn hands, ghost lollipops and chocolate-covered pretzel sticks. Halloween-themes lighted necklaces will also be for sale.
There is going to be a lot going on and should be fun for children and their parents. If you have already purchased Halloween costumes for your little goblins, Scary Tales and Trails will give you a chance to use that costume twice. Maybe you will feel better about parting with the money for a costume. (If you are my age, or even my children’s age, you remember home-made costumes. There were lots of gypsies and cowboys on Halloween. Even ghosts under an old sheet.) But costumes or no costumes, everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the festivities. We are hoping for a perfect, cool fall evening.
I’ll be there. I may be quaking in my boots. But I will tell my story (that reminds me, I have to find a story and practice telling it). With all that quaking, I might not be making much sense. But I know you will be able to hear me. I’m used to projecting to the back of the room. I am sure I can reach a few bales of hay.
I look forward to seeing lots of mamas and papas and little goblins.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.