Last night, after a dinner consisting solely of hors d'oevrs (spelling, please?) and leftover holiday-themed beer, my mom suggested that we all go out for ice cream. Now, the very phrase "ice cream" makes me giddy, so I immediately agreed, and Mitch and my step-dad also agreed, after some slight deliberation and the amendment of "ice cream" to "gelato"--and so we set out for the Public Market, on a holy quest for gelato.
I must say that chocolate gelato--just plain chocolate--is probably the most amazing dessert known to mankind. Seriously. So good.
When we reached the Market, we found that a storytelling was underway. Yes, a storytelling. We got our gelato and sat down at a table to listen, as a gray-haired, bespectacled man recounted what sounded like a Native American legend--there was smoke, and an old woman who turned into a raven, and a sun that went to the south because the people of the north did not honor him. It was all very good. I loved it. I'd not heard a story told aloud since I was maybe ten--not like this, with the weighted pauses, and the repetition of certain details, the slow, clear enunciation. It was very beautiful.
Also, there was a younger man who stood up after the Raven story was finished, and he said that his name was Brian Flowers. "This story," he said, "is also about a man named Brian, but his name was Brian O'Bacharan," and so he began a story set in Ireland, about Brian O'Bacharan of Somewhere-I-Dare-Not-Spell, who was a basketweaver and who had an adventure while out collecting reeds in a haunted wood.
I was spellbound. I finished my gelato and sat listening, thinking occasionally that I should go home and tend to my kittens, but I couldn't leave without knowing what happened. The story grew bigger, and more bizarre--it spun into odd shapes, and events clung together just slightly as Brian O'Bacharan was called to play the fiddle, read funeral rites, perform unnecessary surgery on a very tall man.
Something about the words spoken out loud felt very ancient to me, like something I knew, but had forgotten. The stories themselves felt true and beautiful and alive. I liked them. I'd like to hear them told again.