A Story and A Few Thoughts on Stories

Last night, my wife was at work and I was making dinner, so I decided that I needed some company. As it happened, my beloved San Francisco Giants were taking the night off, so I went to my default in such occasions. I listened to my sworn enemies play ball, the Los Angeles Dodgers. But I was in for a treat. Vin Scully was announcing. And as usual, he had a story.

Only Vin Scully could tell a story about Nat King Cole singing the national anthem and forgetting the words– “crooning”– Vin said, through the last two stanzas. And only Vin Scully could then proceed into a further soliloquy about being invited to Nat King Cole’s show by the man himself later that night.

And only Vin Scully could tell the story about Nat King Cole giving a horrible performance, struggling to get through his well-known catalogue of songs. And only Vin Scully could proceed to make the story even better. You can hear it here, but I’ll paraphrase Vin’s punch line:

So I went backstage after the show and I asked Nat what was going on with his voice that night. He told me he had lost his voice when he stayed at the game, cheering the Dodgers on the whole time. And wouldn’t you know it, the Dodgers had lost the game eleven to nothing! You have to be a true fan to lose your voice
cheering on a team down eleven runs!

Now, what does last night’s story from a ball game– a story from forty or fifty years ago– have to do with anything? Well, it reminded me that life is full of stories worth telling. Not all of them will be equal. Not all of them will have the same importance as others. Not all of them will change our lives.

But something happened to me as I heard this old story retold. I was reminded that my experience is just a glimpse of what is happening right in front of me. I was transported back into the world that Vin was describing.

What kind of stories are you telling? Are they full of curiosity? Are they full of wonder? Do they have the capacity to transport your friends, your coworkers, your husband, your wife, or your children to a world where they may be small yet significant? Do your stories bring life or do they bring death?

May our stories, even the silly ones that aren’t designed to change our lives, be full of life.

And may we tell them often.

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