We went to Jonesborough, TN, to go through the International Storytelling Center. We assumed it would be open on a Wednesday, but it wasn’t. Neither was a train museum in town. Evidently cultural things are not available on Wednesdays. I took a photo of John, Nathaniel, and David with the Storytelling Center in the background.

We like walking up and down the main street of a town, poking our noses in shops and soaking up the atmosphere. We hadn’t gone far when we heard a train, visible from Main Street. David and John stood transfixed until it had passed. I’m sure they could recite the type of engines and the number of cars if you asked.

When we walked under the porch of an old hotel, Nathaniel’s head could touch the underside. He became a decorative post for a few moments.

Son John $pencer had suggested Jonesborough as a destination, and he found a restaurant on line that sounded interesting – the Black Olive. I thought the food was super. The fellows all had variations on classic Parmesan dishes – eggplant, veal, and chicken. I chose spicy shrimp and chicken with penne pasta and a spicy white sauce and sun-dried tomatoes. Yummy!

David and I went to a lollipop store, while John and Nathaniel browsed in an antique store. Both were a bit disappointing. The lollipop place had only wrapped hard candies. I didn’t see any chocolate there, though David did. It’s just as well that I wasn’t lured into buying any sweets.. The antique store was too pricey, so Nathaniel was not tempted. We left, having enjoyed the town and the lovely drive through mountains both ways.

When Sadie begged Nathaniel to play with her, they had a tug of war with her blanket. They played until Sadie was panting and jumped on a chair. David and John went to church for the Lenten service, followed by choir rehearsal. It had been a most pleasant day.

50 thoughts on “Storytelling

  1. Anne, I’m intrigued! What is a storytelling centre? What happens there? I want to go and explore there! It’s a pity it was shut but hope you can go back soon. Oh, Nathaniel reminds me of my son who is also tall and his hair will brush along lower ceilings! As for trains, what is the fascination?! 😀😀 My husband is just the same, his head swivelling to have a look as soon as he hears a train! And yep, he can quote the details of it … and is even building his one model railway!

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    1. The South was noted for excellent storytellers — the kind that would lean back in their chairs on the old porch and spin a yarn that captivated their audiences. Some of the stories were true, and some were fiction. Son John $ knows one, an older friend of his. As soon as the man opens his mouth, everyone around him gets quiet to listen. There are workshops at the center in Jonesborough, I think, trying to teach people to tell stories. There are also gatherings and maybe “concerts” where people are booked to enthrall an audience. We;’ll know not to go on a Wednesday next time.

      I don’t know why people are fascinated with trains. I like looking at them, riding them, and looking at gift shops at train venues. I’m not smitten with them, although there are some women in the model train group. John’s dad liked trains, and watching them was something they did with their time together. John had Lionel trains as a child, and the first books he read, after he really began to read, were train books. He loves history, so he reads it, follows trade publications for current trains, and belongs to a club where they ride on the trains. We have an old Lionel set here at the house, as well as cars and tracks for HO gauge, N gauge, and LGB. All are packed away except the ones on the porch. Those cars are roughly 12 inches long. Maybe we’ll get them running when the weather warms and the yellow pollen season is over.

      What gauge does your husband work with? When I tell John that a blogging friend has a train-loving husband, he’s going to want to meet you both.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anne, I love your description of storytelling in the South … I think I can the crickets and the crack of wood as the chairs move closer to listen to the storyteller. My grandfather used to talk about a ‘ljugare bänk’ – a bench where the fishermen would sit and discuss the catch, each person’s more exaggerated than the one before them, a ‘lying bench’ ie. tall stories.

        My husband was equally excited to learn about your husband’s interest in trains! 😀 He has always been fascinated by trains and recently found the time to start building an N-gauge railway in his ‘shed’. His interest is steam engines in the 1950s & 1960s (British ones), mainly Graham Farish. I do find it’s quite cute with the little stations etc which he makes from Metcalfe kits … and I’ve been allowed to drive a couple of trains (I was rather underwhelmed but not telling him that!) Btw. he is curious what LGB scale is – is it equivalent to O gauge?

        Hope you’re all having a great weekend! Lovely to ‘chat’ with you, Anne! xx🌺


        1. I like the “lying bench” tall stories. I think we’d call them fish tales.

          John likes British trains. We rode several when we lived in England. I don’t remember the names, but I’m sure he would. He’s not here right now, or I would ask him.

          Your husband was right to question me about that train gauge. I think it is O gauge. LGB are the initials for the German company that makes them. I can pronounce the name, but I can’t spell it. Guess that shows my lack of passionate enthusiasm.

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  2. While not what you set out to do, the day did sound delightful. And now you have an excuse to go back. I bet a storytelling place would be fascinating.


    1. We must go back. Also near that town is Rocky Mount, an old house where people assume roles of family members. The original owner played a role in the formations of the state of Tennessee. That is a place we should take visitors, but it is a couple of hours away.

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  3. Wednesday is an odd day to be closed. I guess you always should check but I never would have expected it. Fortunately the restaurant was open. I didn’t know you liked spicy! You go girl!


          1. Dan isn’t quite that bad but isn’t far behind. I have a green sauce (Mexican). I love it and don’t find it very hot. I told him to try it. He put it on like ketchup then complained about the heat!


            1. When I was growing up, we ate the things my dad hunted. In case this turns you off, I won’t say what the meat was. It was cooked with a hot sauce that featured Tobasco sauce and surrounded with sweet potatoes to take away a little of the heat. We also ate slaw and fresh biscuits with it to alleviate the pain! Dad would say it wasn’t very hot, and a few minutes later his face would turn red and sweat would pour from his forehead.

              I love pulled pork sandwiches, which are easy to come by down here. We add the sauces provided. John takes the non-hot sweet sauce, and I go for the next-to-the-hottest one.

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              1. I love pulled pork too and I ratchet it up at least a little. My son-in-laws love it hot. One time they made the dinner and I used an unmarked sauce. I couldn’t eat the sandwich it was that hot! My dad may have hunted but that was long before I was born. He came from farm family so they used to butcher a pig every fall and raised chickens for eggs and to eat. Mostly I eat vegetables! 🙂


  4. Seems like a nice day anyway! I too am curious about the International Storytelling Centre. Here in Spain, it is Monday when most cultural centres are closed.


    1. I think the purpose of the Storytelling Center is to keep the art alive. The South was noted for people who entertained each other on the porch with tales of truth and fiction. They could be spellbinding. I suspect the center has workshops, as well as demonstrations, about telling stories.


  5. Yes, John and Daviddo look mesmerized by that train passing thru. Nathaniel is hot blooded – look at him with no jacket on … Sadie has won the heart of everyone she meets.


  6. A lovely outing was had by all, it seems, despite the dearth of things you wanted to see! My John drooled over what you ate at the Black Olive. I would’ve had a Parmesan dish.

    Just how tall is Nathaniel?! Whose genes did he get for that?!

    My daughter Kathryn is into storytelling big-time! She read a story of hers on a cross-Canada radio show (with studio audience) called Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids. Was a hoot! It’s at (But I can’t find now on the site, darn!)


    1. John might have liked what I ate today — chicken salad sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayonnaise.

      Nathaniel is 6’5″ tall. There were no very tall people in any related families.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Nathaniel is used to ducking, as you surmised. He has been tall for several years now and is used to it. He loves my admiration when he retrieves an item from a tall cabinet without going up on his long toes.

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  7. Anne is that close to you? I’ve had family in that neck of the woods the past two weeks. My daughter has been in Johnson City working on the Guitar Center grand opening. She is flying home today. My sister and brother-in-law were in Mountain City last week. They have a home there and will be making it their permanent home after he retires this summer. If/when I ever get to go visit them maybe we can meet up somewhere.


    1. It took us about 2 or 2 1/2 hours to get to Jonesboro. That is so exciting that you might be in that area some time. John doesn’t mind driving, and he has greatly enjoyed meeting bloggers and spouses with me. Please let us know when you will be there. Of course, if you wanted to drive to Waynesville, we’d love to see you here.

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  8. It’s always so frustrating when a tourist attraction isn’t open. I remember one time when my family wanted to tour a museum (any museum) in a city on a Monday – and every single museum was closed on Mondays.


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