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Remembering Kathryn at the ‘Swappin Grounds’

“The Swappin’ Grounds” has been part of the National Storytelling Festival for many years. It is a special place where storytellers and storyteller wannabes can tell a family friendly 10-minute story by signing up at the Christopher Taylor log home on Main Street.
I served as an emcee for this year’s Swappin’ Grounds and my first teller was a lady from Alabama. She had written a note on the back of her sign-up card that said she was a lifelong friend of Kathryn Tucker Windham. She had never told a story before, but had been thinking of giving it a try.
With the recent loss of her good friend, she decided this would be the year. Her story consisted of memories of Kathryn, especially during the time Kathryn was her Brownie Troop leader.
One time when Kathryn had prepared cookie dough for each of her Brownies and was coming around to see how the cookies came out, she asked why this youngster didn’t have any cookies. Were they still in the oven? No, was her reply. She had eaten the cookie dough. She confessed she liked cookie dough better than cookies!
It was just one of many funny and fond moments they shared. The girls also realized years later that if they got too rambunctious or had too much sugar, Kathryn would just pile them all in her car and take them home. This gentle Southern lady never reprimanded her girls; she just took them home. The girls didn’t know any better back then…they just thought the meeting was over.
Special times were recalled of sitting on a porch or around a campfire as Kathryn told stories of encouragement, moral values, humor, and history. The girls didn’t know much about the “art” of storytelling back then.
They just loved listening to Kathryn’s wonderful stories, the positive messages, and the camaraderie they shared.
There was not a sound inside the tent as this lady was sharing her medley of stories. I only wish hundreds more could have heard her. Oh, how Kathryn would have been proud to know that one of her little Brownies had ventured out onto that storytelling path. But then again, maybe she does know.