It might just be time for me to get some new and more exciting stories.
It became painfully obvious to me over the holidays that at some point in your life you stop telling new stories and just start recycling the old ones. And I'm convinced I'm going to need a much bigger bundle of stories than my mother has.
My mom's stories are so familiar to me it's like they have been made into a major motion picture and I've watched it no less than 17 times. I can recite all the dialogue, and the characters are vivid and clear and nuanced in my mind. I could step in and finish every one of my mother's stories after less than five words. In fact, I can name that story in three words. Go ahead. Test me.
It does absolutely no good to say anything once the story has begun. That story is going to get told all the way to the bitter end unless the house catches fire. Even then, my mother would still be finishing that story as we shiver outside with the glow of the burning house on our faces.
My brothers have started taking pieces from all my mom's stories and mashing them together to form an epic, crazy, no-good-very-bad-day kind of story. Much like those inane mash-ups on the radio where some juvenile disc jockey has the brilliant idea of mixing a Barry Manilow song together with Dr. Dre, the result is a nonsensical, jumbled mess that doesn't in any way resemble music, or in this case a story.
We find it hilarious how the pinnacle five words of each story fit together into some less-than-harmonious whole. But my mother just waits for the story mashing escapades to die down and gamely continues with her story as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. "And then your uncle Laurie Whitney said..."
I guess at some point her stories will become my stories and I will pick up the storytelling where she leaves off, because on a remote farm in Idaho there may be no written record, and the only way to keep these stories from dying from the earth is through crushing and unyielding repetition.
10 months ago