By Daniel DeVries
Originally published in
The Daily Gazette,
Feb. 14, 2005
A down-south story of a preacher’s marriage wisdom, and
another of bitter wives shaming their husbands drew torrents of laughter at the
Glen Sanders Mansion on Sunday – and that was before salad was served.
The Story Circle of the Capital District host its February
Story Sunday meal with some wry stales from nationally renowned storyteller Elizabeth Ellis, of Dallas.
“She’s eminently known in the storytelling ranks,” said one
of the organizers, Joe Doolittle
The meal consists of food with stories intertwined between
salad, entrée and dessert.
Kate Dudding, the other organizer of Story Sundays and a storyteller,
said the craft of spinning a good yard is well beyond casual tales told by
relatives at a holiday dinner table.
“People at dinner tables tell anecdotes and also may get
distracted ... there are a lot of detours in anecdotes,” Dudding said of the
art. “In storytelling, people [speak] on a platform and they do it
Those attending Story Circle special banquets come to listen
to stories and eat well, Dudding said, adding that the group has logged about
2,900 visits for the meals.
Group members meet once a month to work on their own
stories, which Dudding said are different from a bedtime story.
“It’s partially content [for adults] and you also assume
that adults have learned through life experiences … It would be presumptuous
of me to say ‘This is the one and only meaning of the story.’”
Bertha Berman of Scotia said she has attended each of the
group’s more than 40 story night since they began in 1999.
“I guess I’m a little kid [when] I get caught up in the
stories,” Berman said, adding that she has always enjoyed the warm family
atmosphere of the Story Sunday meals. “Even if I don’t know everybody, they
Karen Kennedy of Rexford said she has attended several story
nights during the past three years.
“Just hearing homespun stories that you associate with
sitting on your grandfather’s knee,” is how Kennedy described the experience.
Of the approximately 75 people at Sunday’s dinner, several
traveled from as far as New Hampshire and Vermont, Dudding said.
Ellis thanked the audience for their enjoyment of her first
“Telling stories to an empty room is no fun at all,” Ellis