Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Annual Christmas Meal Scheduled

     One of Beaver Creek Storytellers' favorite events is the annual Christmas lunch. This year members have voted to have a Christmas dinner instead of lunch. It will be held at Ryan's as always on Friday, December 3, but at 6:30 p.m. instead of noon. Ryan's is on Euclid Avenue on the Virginia side of Bristol. 

     The BCS organization picks up the tab for everyone present. Each member may bring one guest. Donations received from monthly performances underwrite the expense.

Here's a picture of last year's luncheon.

Beaver Creek Storytellers Dec. 2009
On left beginning at front of the table: Joyce Moore, Glen Williams, Becky and Chris Vickers, Pat Musselman, Pat's daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.
On right, beginning at front of the table: Diana Conco, Jody Jenkins, Carl Jenkins, Mimi Rockwell, G. Lee Hearl.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tellabration! 2010

     A nice crowd showed up at the 606 State Street Gallery to attend BCS' 13th Tellabration! The admission was three cans of non-perishable food to be donated to some local food pantries. Pat Musselman was charming as always as she M.C.'d the program

     Carl Jenkins took the stage first and read the Tellebration! Proclamation which ends with "Let the stories begin!"

     Becky Vickers started the program off with her original story "Pecking Order." Becky has been telling for about three years now and her increased skill is showing nicely. Her stories come from her own experiences growing up in a rural-dwelling family. 

     David Claunch followed with a traditional tale that may be the original "fish tale" since it deals with a fish that grants wishes until they become too outrageous and the greedy recipient finds himself back where he started. David has a good repetoire of traditional tales since his courses at East Tennessee State University emphasized these.

David Claunch

     Pat  called Carl Jenkins back to the stage where he told several historical anecdotes that aren't found in a typical high school history book. Carl recently retired from teaching history. He is also a Civil War Re-Enactor as history of the Civil War is his passion.

Carl Jenkins

     Pat then introduced two special guests, who performed separately. A seventh-grade student with a very mature voice, Tori Bates Samuel, sang two songs acappela and with perfect pitch--quite impressive.

     The next guest, Johnny Garland, played some R&B selections on his harmonica which was a nice interlude to the storytelling. I'm sure the harmonica is the official instrument for R&B.

Johnny Garland

     After a short intermission, the storytelling resumed with Pat Musselman telling one of her Grandpa stories and the puzzling little critter who looked like a caterpillar with eight tiny hooves.

     Pat was followed by G. Lee Hearl, current Director of BCS, who accompanied himself with his guitar as he told an original rhyming story about "Hattie's Brew." He then told  tale about spending his 9th summer on his Uncle Simon's North Carolina farm. G. Lee writes all of his material and plays several instruments.

     I was excited to be the 5th storyteller and share the story about how my father won a movie camera, a projector, a portable screen, a big box of film, one roll in color, a Buster Keaton movie and a Mickey Mouse cartoon.

     Glenn Williams closed the program with an American fairytale by the author of The Wizard Of Oz about a glassmaker, a wizard, an heiress, and a pink glass dog. Quite a tale!

     And the stories came to an end--for that night. There will be no storytelling in December, but an Old Christmas program is planned for January 6, 2011. More details about that will be coming.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Storytelling Festival 2010

Jonesborough Welcomes Storytellers and Listeners

BCS Graveyard Tales 2010

Click twice to see photos of other BCS storytellers

Graveyard Tales 2010

      Beaver Creek Storytellers entertained an appreciative audience of around 50 people Sat. night at the 13th annual Graveyard Tales. Tellers were Mary Grace Walrath, Glen Williams, G.Lee Hearl, Becky Vickers, Carole Ann Miller, Pat Musselman, and Mimi Rockwell. 

     Mary Grace opened the program with the classic story, "Tailey-Po." Glen Williams followed with a story of his college days and the haunting of the theater's rehearsal room. G. Lee then told his much-loved tale of "Coffin On A Rail."

     It was a warmer night, or should I say less cool, than it has been. However, between the stories and the sun going down, it was quite chilly by Intermission time. The hot chocolate was goooood!  

     Some State Street stores had donated some very nice items for door prizes and about a dozen were given away during the Intermission. 606 State Street Gallery had donated admission to an art class; Blakely Mitchell Men's Store donated three quality men's ties; Kiln-N-Time donated a pottery piece; and The Blowfish Emporium donated

a print of a tropical scene. Some books, jewelry, a Mikasa glass dish, and toys made up the rest.

     After the break, Becky Vickers told a tale of a frightened girl in a graveyard with a surprise ending; Carole Ann Miller with a delightful Scottish accent told a story of a Scottish princess who sewed britches for a humiliated brute who had been haunting the village; and Pat Musselman told the classic scary tale of Mary Culhane.

     Mimi Rockwell, who had been M.C. for the program, ended the program with a story to help you face your fears--but she had to scare them first.

     It felt good to have many of the old gang back together. G. Lee's surgery has given him new energy, and Mimi is back using stories to help recover from Rocky's death.

     Because my camera batteries kept losing their charge, I did not get many pictures. I'm posting what I got in the sidebar. As other members send me some of what they took, I'll post those later.  

New Venues

Beaver Creek Storytellers has been trying out new venues through these months thanks to members G. Lee Hearl, Pat Musselman, and Carl Jenkins.

Several monthly performances followed by a business meeting were held at the Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon. Admission was free and a small audience attended.

An art gallery on State Street in Bristol, The Blowfish Emporium, held BCS performances for a month or two, but then discontinued.

For the past couple months, 606 State Street Art Gallery has hosted BCS on the second Thursday of the month, with performances starting at 7:00 p.m. Refreshments are served and admission is $5.00. Several of the new members have joined through this venue. I am hearing reports that it is working out well and will continue. 

Pat Musselman serves as liason for the last venue. I also want to recognize Carl Jenkins  for obtaining donations from State Street businesses for door prizes for BCS events, especially our Graveyard Tales. You have both been wonderful volunteers for our organization. 

New Members

     The BCS Membership Drive took place in the Spring. There was some delay in getting all the dues paid but everything is caught up now. Paying dues means you can attend BCS functions without paying, and you are included on the business e-mailing list. 

     All 2009 members renewed except for two plus the two members who are deceased.
In addition, one performing member was added, Sandy Shortridge of Grundy, VA. One performing member moved away, Paul Conco. Three Apprentice members were added, Glenn Childers, Carl Jenkins, and Sam Samuel.
Three Supportive members were added, Mary (Kathy) McCarty, Mike Miller, and Ron Tittle with one Supportive Member moving away, Diana Conco.

     This brings BCS to a total of 28 members.

Performing Members are:
     David Claunch
     Judy Farlow
     Isaac Freeman
     G. Lee Hearl
     Carole Ann Miller
     Joyce Moore
     Lester "Toon" Murray
     Pat Musselman
     Leon Overbay
     Mimi Rockwell
     Sandy Shortridge
     Becky Vickers
     Mary Grace Walrath
     C. Glen Williams
     (Total of 14)

Apprentice Members are:
     Glenn Childers
     Carl Jenkins
     Sam Samuel

 Traditionally, BCS has asked Apprentice Members to try out their stories at one of the monthly storytelling events, have a total number of stories that would fill up a 60-minute show, provide the titles and length of those stories to the Director. The BCS Director will decide once they have completed these requirements if they are ready to become a Performing Member.

Supportive Members are:
     Wilhelmina Banks
     Alice Freeman
     James "Butch" Lane
     Sheila Lane
     Mary (Kathy) McCarty
     Mike Miller
     Ron Tittle
     Chris Vickers
     Gary Walrath     
     (Total of 9)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday To Many Of You

     Once again "Happy Birthdays" have been missed. None have been posted on the blog since last March. So let's correct that right now.

     April Birthdays: 
          Diana Conco and Mimi Rockwell - April 1
          Carole Ann Miller - April 19

     May: No Birthdays

           David Claunch - June 13

           Gary Walrath - July 2
           Lester Murray - July 3

           Joyce Moore and Becky Vickers - Aug. 25
           Paul Conco - Sept. 18

           Isaac Freeman - October 4
           G. Lee Hearl - October 11

     November: No Birthdays

          Pat Musselman - Dec. 6
          Wilhelmina Banks - Dec. 8
          Sheila Banks - Dec. 27


Back At It

     My life has taken a different turn since I last wrote. My husband, Rocky Rockwell, entered the hospital mid-March and passed away on May 11. I have not felt like doing any storytelling or keeping this blog up to date.

     However, five months later, I'm beginning to feel the urge to get involved again so am planning to do a few events yet this year. I also intend to start posting once again to this blog. I'll begin by saying a few things about Rocky who was a founding member of the Beaver Creek Storytellers.
     I believe Rocky had been a storyteller all of his life. When I met him in 1974, I knew him as a first-rate conversationalist and teller of anecdotes, usually over a restaurant dinner table. On car trips, he would entertain me with tales of his past experiences in school and the newspaper business from which he had retired shortly before we met.
     We moved to Bristol in 1982 when Rocky got a job as a professor at Virginia Intermont College. We had never even heard of the Jonesborough Storytelling Festival until 1987 when friends came to visit; one of them had read something about it in a newspaper. She and I drove to Jonesborough to check it out and in the first tent we visited we heard Donald Davis. We were hooked and excited to share news of this fun activity when we got home and told our husbands.
     Rocky and I started attending the Jonesborough storytelling festival every year. We began to learn about its organization and other storytelling organizations. In 1996 we went to a storytelling event at a Jonesborough restaurant and by the end of that year we had joined lhe Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, a small local group that told stories once a week at the restaurant we had attended.
     Storytelling woke up our creativity and soon we were both writing and telling stories on stage. A year later, Rocky, G. Lee Hearl, and I started the Beaver Creek Storytellers in Bristol. 
     Rocky's passion for the Art of Story continued and he became a member of the Board for the National Storytelling Network and later for the Tennessee Storytelling Association. He was a featured teller for the Corn Island Festival in Lexington, KY; the Blueberry Festival, and the Great Oaks Festival in Mississippi; Sharing The Fire in Boston; and several other festivals and conferences in Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama. 
     Unfortunately, in 2004 Rocky was diagnosed with lung cancer and although he was cured it left him with severe COPD which, with other health problems that occurred, led to his death this year. With his illness, his passion for story waned, but it was never fully extinguished, and he was always ready to "talk story" when we hosted a visiting storyteller. 
     I'll finish this by telling a little anecdote about Rocky's last month. He was in a nursing home following his hospital stay, and one beautiful day the end of April, he felt good enough to get into a wheelchair and let me push him outside to breathe in some sunshine and fresh air. We discovered a little garden and about 8 people were sitting grouped together in a small pavilion. Some were patients and some were nurses aides.
     I pushed him into an empty spot and then began introducing ourselves and soon I was asking and answering questions. Rocky was clearly enjoying it all, but was not feeling up to talking. However, after a short while he leaned over to me and in a low voice said, "With another couple people, we'd have an audience." 
     That was our last delightful day. 

     Beaver Creek Storytellers will miss Rocky's ability to think clearly to solve problems, to be innovative, and to be a kind critic. Most of all, I believe they will miss his clever stories, all original, many of them humorous, but others touching the heart strings. Favorites were "The Hurricane," "The Last Shot Of the Civil War," "The Long White Shark," "JFK and The Camera," "The Adoption Story," "Jackie Mitchell," and "Old Age." 

Friday, March 5, 2010


     Ah, the sunshine today makes me feel hopeful that Spring is on its way. I also feel, like the bears, that I may be coming out of hibernation.

     Therefore, my memory kicked in and I realized this Blog has not said "Happy Birthday" to anyone since December. So let's correct that now.

     "Happy Belated Birthday" to Leon Overbay, below. I am not

privy to how many years Leon has on him, but I don't think it's 80 in spite of the number of years he's been a storyteller. Sorry about how fuzzy the photo looks, Leon.

     February saw two birthdays that we forgot--Judy Butterfly on the 12th
(Another fuzzy pic, unfortunately.) Judy is a brand new member of BCS, clowns on the side, and is anxious to begin telling. She's not 80 either!
     Mary Grace Walrath celebrated her ??? on the 22nd
(I don't think it was 80!) M.G. has been telling stories in her work as a tour guide in Jonesborough, TN but not for 80 years! She lives in Piney Flats which is closer to Bristol.

     All three of the above tellers also belong to the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild.

     "Happy Birthday" to Rocky Rockwell who reached  80 yesterday. He doesn't tell nearly as much as

he used to, but up until 5 years ago, he could always be depended on to tell a tale, off stage or on.

     Two more birthdays will be coming up in March, Chris Vickers on March 13 and Glen Williams on March 30. Don't forget them! 

     And since they celebrate birthdays on April 1, I'll mention Diana Conco and Mimi Rockwell who share that infamous date!  Both are passionate story aficionados and do everything they can to help BCS grow.

     If you're reading this Blog sometimes, sign up as a "follower." It makes for better public relations to show a good following.  Mimi

Correction to Previous Post

     I made a mistake on the last post. Doug Morrell retired as a Sergeant Major from the Army, and not a Master Sergeant as I had written. The publication that I had used for my resource used abbreviations, and I misinterpreted them. I'm very sorry.  Mimi


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Doug Morrell, 1931-2010

Doug and Sue Morrell, BCS Christmas Lunch, 2008

One of our most faithful members, Doug Morrell, died on Feb. 27. He will be remembered for his cheerful personality and a ubiquitous smile. He enjoyed telling stories and his favorites were those about his military experiences as an M.P. in Germany, events of his youth in Bristol, TN, and characters in his painting business. Doug was born July 14, 1931, in Sullivan County, TN. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1968 as a Master Sergeant having served during the Korean War. He then returned to Bristol where he became the owner/operator of Morrell Painting & Decorating, from which he later retired. Mr. Morrell was a member of Sunrise Baptist Church, the Lone State Writer's Guild, and Beaver Creek Storytellers. He had written a book, "Painters Have More Fun Than People."  Survivors include his wife, Sue Morrell, two daughters, three sons, and eight grandchildren. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., on Wednesday, March 3, in the Weaver Funeral Home. Military Honors will be conducted by the Bristol VFW Honor Guard. The committal service and interment will be held, at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Online condolences may be registered by visiting 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wintry Hibernation

Winter has been hard on our storytelling organization. The first 12 days of January never went above freezing. Snow covered the ground and with frigid temperatures, we cancelled Old Christmas. 

We then tried to put together a fundraiser by the end of January to raise money for the Haitian earthquake survivors, but couldn't get enough members on such short notice to perform.

So, here we are almost halfway through February with no event planned. G. Lee has suggested that everyone work on creating stories so when we come back together, we'll be ready to go.

The latest weather report says that a storm made up of cold temps and high winds is on its way, so I don't think it's time for the bears to come out of their dens yet.

See you when it warms up!  

February and March Birthdays

Members who have birthdays in February are:
Judy Butterfly (Feb. 12)
Mary Grace Walrath (Feb. 22)

Members who have birthdays in March are:
Rocky Rockwell (March 4)
Chris Vickers (March 13)
Glen Williams (March 30)

A special observance for Rocky Rockwell's 80th birthday is a card shower. Everyone who knows Rocky is invited to send him a card on or around March 4. Optional is an added personal greeting, a memory, or an anecdote. This is a surprise for Rocky and we hope his mailbox holds at least 80 cards! We are sure he will be heart-touched and probably embarrassed. Cards should be sent to 15301 Castle Yonder Lane, Bristol, VA 24202. Please do not send an email card since his poor vision prevents him from enjoying his computer.

Please remember the other members also.    Mimi