Luke and the eyewitness report

We true-life storytellers are likely to hit a snag at some point for any number of reasons. Maybe events of the story we want to tell happened very long ago. Mimi Beardsley Alford wrote Once Upon a Secret, about her 18-month affair as a White House intern with John F. Kennedy fifty years later.

I can see the LIGHT ©

I can see the LIGHT ©

Possibly a story we want to tell involves an injury or illness that left us with memory gaps because we were highly medicated or unconscious for a period. Dr. Eben Alexander supports the account of his NDE in Proof of Heaven with the experience of family members while he was comatose.

Perhaps we were absent for some reason at the time the event(s) that impacted our life occurred. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lucinda Franks shares her discovery that her father had been a World War II spy after Alzheimer’s struck him in My Father’s Secret War: A Memoir.

Can you tell true stories despite having no, few or time-impaired memories of the events as they actually occurred? Can stories plagued by these be deemed reliable? While there may be a million reasons to affirm such stories, one man stands out this Christmas season as a prime example.

Among the earliest, and certainly among the most credible of true-life tale tellers, is Luke. Luke is thought by many early and church historians to be the author of two New Testament books of the Bible, Luke and Acts. In the second chapter of Luke, he tells what is many people’s favorite version of the birth of Jesus. Was Luke there for the event? No. He found out about it based on careful investigation of eyewitness accounts. Was Luke’s version accepted? It must have been because he mentions it at the beginning of his second book, Acts. (What a great example of first century book marketing!!!) And, maybe even more important, the gospel of Luke remains widely accepted today as one of the sixty-six books of the Bible.

If memory of events is absent or “iffy” because of time, incapacitation or absence, we can take inspiration from Luke. We can look into the events through the eyes of those who were there like family, friends, neighbors.

I inadvertently tested this out recently. In November, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Practically everyone who was alive on that horrific day remembers where they were when they heard the horrifying news that the president had been shot in Dallas.

As I finished watching As It Happened: JFK 50 Years on TV, I posted on Facebook that when I heard the news, I was in Mrs. Whittington’s 6th grade classroom at Oaklawn Elementary and asked others if they were alive then if they remembered where they were. The response was larger than normal and included comments by others that were in my class.

One friend messaged me to remind me that our basement room had no loud speaker, so the information was delivered live. Another messaged me asking if I remembered going to her birthday party at her home that night. While I remember the party and a photo taken at it, I don’t in any way connect the party with Kennedy’s death.

Because of that Facebook post, I now have new details based on the eyewitness experience of others that enrich my memory of that day. Reach out to eyewitness to fill out your stories!

Epic: The Story God is Telling (Thomas Nelson, 2004)

I ran into a friend from my hometown at Barnes and Noble recently. She was there to buy a small Christmas gift to express thanks to a few helpful volunteers. What is her favorite Christmas book to gift? Barbara Robinson’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

 If I could gift a book to Storydame readers this Christmas (and I can’t, so don’t get excited!), it would not be a Christmas book even though there are many terrific ones in publication. Some of my favorites are Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,  John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

StoryDame loves stories, stories that are true, stories that reveal us flaws and all, stories that raise a range of emotion from tears to laughter. My favorite book of true tales, flaws and an emotional rollercoaster ride of love, adventure, horrific evils and thrills has to be Epic: The Story God is Telling by John Eldredge.

Epic tells us that we are part of a larger story started before the dawn of time. The stories we love, Eldredge says, are a heart call to this epic. This Christmas season join me as I reread Epic and discover the crucial role that is mine and yours!


Photo: Colosseo. ©

Ice and aging

Years ago my Mom was without power following a bad ice storm. A good portion of the state was down, so repair was slow. Outages continued for days.

Ice storm, road closed ©

Ice storm, road closed. ©

Even though Mom was comfortable, a neighbor wasn’t. The neighbor went down to the local utility and said, “You’ve got to get our power restored! A little old lady lives next door to me. She could die!” The power was back on that day.

There are perks associated with aging.

What a dip!

On the way home from my regular weekly guitar lesson last Wednesday, I picked up a small bottle of Bailey’s as a token Thanksgiving offering for Mom, then splurged on calories in the form of cheese dip and cheese for dinner for me. At home I carefully arranged my cup of cheese dip on a dinner plate surrounding it with chips on a plate, fixed a diet Coke, then settled on the couch, feet up. I’ve eaten a couple of cheesy chips from the plate which I’m holding against my chest to avoid dripping molten cheese on my favorite Eileen Fisher gold silk shirt – yes I am a sloppy eater – when my iPhone vibrates. I reach in my bra and pull out my iPhone and …

Queso & chips. ©

Queso & chips. ©

Okay. I guess you know where this is going. But before I spell it out for you, there are a couple of things you should know.

For the record I know storing your smart phone in your bra isn’t a good idea. I’ve seen stories of people who have gotten brain cancer from talking on cell phones and breast cancer from sticking their phones in their bras. I’ve been scolded TWICE (once by a woman at a conference and earlier by a man at my hair salon) for this. So, I know full well storing your cell phone in your bra is a bad idea.

Even before I knew it was a bad idea I knew it was ridiculous looking. In The Groundlings show Beverly Winwood Presents: The Actor’s Showcase, Jennifer Coolidge plays a sequined woman who stops in the midst of her rendition of the salty old sailor Quint’s monologue in Jaws to pull her cell phone from her bra and answer a call. Few laughed as long and hard as I did.

Jennifer Coolidge, cancer and call downs combine to cause me to stop cold turkey. But there’s a problem with that. Short-term habits can become natural moves we don’t even think about. Without even thinking I find last Wednesday I’ve done it again!

In my defense, and I feel justified in having one because there is no 12-step group for cell phone bra storers, clothes I wear on a daily basis few these days seldom have pockets. A bra is a convenient place and just the right size to stick an iPhone. What am I to do? Burn my bras??? This isn’t the 70s, folks!

So my phone vibrates. And I reach and pull out my iPhone, but my fingers are slightly greasy from the fresh chips. Greasy fingers, the weight of my iPhone with my recent purchase of the Mophie battery case and forward motion, I don’t know I wasn’t captivated by physics, but voila! My iPhone does this Olympic caliber nose-dive into the cup of cheese dip!

As fast as I can, I remove the Mophie case which is not all that easy because the case fits tight like a glove and is slippery from the cheese dip. Cheese dip is everywhere – on the kitchen counter, on the floor and on my favorite Eileen Fisher gold silk shirt. I spend the spend the next few minutes wiping the gooey yellow mix off my iPhone all the while worrying about what this is going to cost me in Apple and Eileen Fisher gold. I even pull cotton from Q-tips to reach into grooves associated with parts like the ring/silent switch. I make a test call to Mom because she’s the one who called earlier. I can barely hear her. Guess I haven’t been totally successful cleaning the receiver/front microphone!

I spend the evening thinking of ways around the receiver. Can I use earphone? What about speaker phone? By bedtime, the sound has improved. Early the next morning it seems almost totally normal. And the cheese dip washes out the my shirt.

Is this near calamity to stop my iPhone-in-bra storage habit once and for all? I surely hope so! But if you see me slipping my iPhone in my bra, just say, “Cheese dip!”