"Clank, clickety-clank" — that was the sound my iron horseshoe made bouncing off the metal post, and a few other objects, during a game the other night.
"You know," said my friend Hank, as he viewed the scoreboard hanging from the old fence which displayed his sizeable point lead, "This could be a case of the Tortoise and the Hare."
I nodded agreement and queued up my next throw, encouraged by the possibility of closing the gap before time ran out.
If you're over 40 like me, you probably remember some of the childhood favorites by Perrault, Grimm, Jacobs, and others — Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, and more.
When we were young, story-telling hour was a time of adventure and excitement and, at the same time, safety and peace. The stories, lovingly imparted from your caretaker, had lessons — work hard and your time will come; you've got to take a lot of chances with people and life to find the right situation; be careful who you trust — if Grandma's ears appear a bit lengthier than you last remember them, or if she's sporting a coat of fur where you don't recollect seeing any before, pause before moving forward.
As you get older, adult-life stories fill in the gap left with the departure of footed pajamas and toy bears.
Friends have stories to tell. Recently, a friend was telling me how he and his son got swamped in his small aluminum fishing boat from a fast-moving party fishing boat, in the fog, on the Merrimack River. From this harrowing near-death experience, we concluded that small boat fishing on the river was not the path to a long boating career.
Business people also have stories to share. An 82-year-old businessman, a guest in my business start-up program, told a story of jogging in Maine one day and completely missing his "turnaround" marker, a large billboard obscured by a heavy early morning Down East fog. Missing the marker caused him to, inadvertently, double the length of his run, accentuating a key life lesson, namely, the primary thing that stops people from success in business, and life, is their own thoughts.
Family members and relatives are another rich source of stories. A month ago, while visiting a marina on Lake Winnipesaukee, I bumped into the owner, who worked part-time during college on my grandfather's farm.
We hadn't seen each other in 30 years, but upon recognizing me, he called a couple of employees over to recount a story that my grandfather had shared with him decades before. The story centered around my grandfather working his way up from the bottom in a large bank, by filling in for everyone and anyone that might be absent for work. Randy put the lessons of opportunism and hard work to good use and became global vice president of Digital Corporation during the company's golden years.
Importantly, stories, like those from famous authors, will continue to be handed down from parent to child. And friends and business associates will not likely stop sharing their experiences and perspectives soon. However, some family members and relatives may be nearing points in their lives where their stories might be lost forever.
Stories are valuable. They serve as conduits to convey lessons and values which can be recalled after long periods of time. Stories allow people to share emotions and bond. They can relieve stress and stimulate positive actions. Stories are the yeast of the bread of life.
Don't let the light go out before you share and capture the rich stories held by the people in your life.
Paul Jermain, a Manchester resident, leads an Entrepreneurial Training Program for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and produces "Smart Boating," a local public access cable TV show.