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.