“I feel like I was given laugh therapy.”  “I went away feeling less alone.”  “Why don’t we always share like this?”

These were just a few of the comments made after last night’s sold out storytelling night.  People had to sit in the aisles and into overflow rooms for Tough Lessons: True Tales of Learning the Hard Way, an evening that raised $552 to buy dance mirrors for the Willow Wind Community Learning Center in Ashland.

Ava DeRosier began the evening with a soulful rendition of Patsy Cline’s Crazy, backed by Duane Whitcomb on violin, Kim Levy on piano, and Ann Robinson on cello.  Eric Guyer, from Jackson County Corrections, was first up with the story of a father fighting his own competitive instinct while coaching a first and second grade football team.  Poet and writer Angela Decker followed with a hilarious tale of driving with her parents across the Mexican Border while sitting on a box of Marijuna.  Then accompanist and teacher Kim Levy shared her struggle to overcome an emotional jealousy that almost took her life.  Kim followed her story with a piano piece that expressed the lesson she had learned.

After a break with tea and cookies, the audience took their seats for three more tales. Middle school teacher Matt Damon had the audience full of laughter as he shared his experiences with a working class family in New England.  Designer Savel Sabol shared the pain and humor of trying to seduce a beautiful woman after a car accident damaged her ability to speak.  Our final tale was from Bill Ritch who received the silver star for heroism as a ranger in Vietnam.  Bill talked about his heartfelt struggle to make peace with the death and trauma he experienced in the Vietnam war.  Ava, Duane, Kim, and Ann finished the night with Cline’s Walking After Midnight. It was a soulful night of music, laughter, and real human truth.

The evening’s tales were recorded and we hope to have them available soon.

Our next gathering will be Thursday, April 14 at the UCC church.  The theme is Love Hurts:Stories of Relationship Struggles