If Endorphins are released when we are laughing, we are in Endorphin Overload and loving it. Three days with the best storytellers in the country, perfect weather, historic town and quality shops, FAIR FOOD –- what could top this?
Thursday We were up early to get our tickets. The registration crew was just getting set up and in high spirits. Everyone was so friendly and interested in each other.
“Where are you from?”
“Have you been here before?”
Stories –- our own and theirs –- started there and continued. We learned that one of the parking guides was an AT section hiker, his partner played college baseball with Michael Dukakis… The stories continued….On the street, and in lines at the port-o-lets, with seat mates in the tents and along the main street, the endorphins were flowing and there was more sharing than a twelve step meeting (and more laughing.)
Hanging out in the entrance to the visitor center, we had our parking solved.
“We are not the Methodist church from Jonesborough. (They’re our friends, but our church is in Johnson City.) We offer parking at half their price and it’s right up there…”
Three folks in period costumes approached us separately; One was the former director of the Birmingham Symphony. Each told us different things about I Am Home, a play woven of stories told by the people of Jonesborough, about Jonesborough and presented by an amateur cast of people from Jonesborough ages 4- 70. We wavered, but went back later and got our tickets. IT WAS THE BEST DECISION WE MADE ALL WEEK!
A school bus whisked us a few blocks to a long closed school with limited parking. Each of those cast members spotted us in the crowd filing in and thanked us for coming. The cast mingled, kids politely welcomed us and scurried around the bare brick room and behind the tiered folding chairs. The only props were painted wooden crates, rearranged artfully for every scene. The lighting was professional but secured to bare rafters. No real sound system was needed. We were close and the actors well directed – we didn’t miss a word.
“We laughed, we cried…” (you know there is no way to recreate this night for you here, but here is a little vignette..) As the lights dimmed, the author, huddled near the corner of the seating, was sobbing and, on stage, the huge brawny guy who played frontiersman Daniel Boone was weeping openly and so was everybody else.
The cast mingled with us as we filed out and we congratulated a black man who had carried one of the most intense scenes. (turns out he was born in Clanton, Alabama.)“ I wanted to do this well…. because that story is from a man who is a deacon in my church…He’s 95 this week … and two others (who were part of the scene) are in my church as well.”