My dad passed away when I was 13. One of the most cherished things I remember about him are the stories he would tell me. He grew up in rural Northern Kentucky in the 1940s. He would tell stories about riding a horse to school and stories about exploring haunted houses with his friends. His storytelling was so vivid that I can still picture the plots of his stories in my mind as if he told me yesterday. I can almost hear the sound of water splashing in the creeks he described and feel a chill when I think of the stories about he and his friends investigating rumors of ghosts.
My dad and I used to make the four hour drive to my mamaw's house once a month. For four hours, it would just be the two of us riding in the cab of his black pick up truck through the hills of Kentucky. This was before podcasts and car dvd players. My dad's stories were the only thing to fill our time. But I never remember thinking these four hours were boring. Sometimes, I would ask him to repeat a story twice.
I'm not sure why, but this kind of rich storytelling hasn't been a big part of our family rhythm. We read books with engaging plots. We watch movies built around good stories. But we don't do much in the way of passing our own stories down to our kids. I want our kids to have their memories filled with rich stories.
I want to retell stories that I heard from my mom and dad as a child. I want to tell my children stories about adventures from my own childhood. And I want to continually retell the stories that we are living out right now. I want to sit around the table in ten years and hear, "Remember that time…" I want roars of laughter and smiles of fondness when these stories are being told.
So I'm going to start writing them down. I'm going to start making them part of our dinner table and our car rides and our evenings on the couch. I don't want to tell stories that easily fade from my kids' memories, I want them to be vivid.