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June Buggin’ storytelling festival underway

The sawdust had settled at the We Piddle Around Theater long before Nellie Mobley got off her emotionally roller coaster.

Barbara McBride-Smith’s presentation, “Hello, Ricky Nelson, Goodbye Heart,” at the Brundidge folk life theater Thursday brought laughter, tears and stirred up so many memories that Mobley said she will bask in them for days.

“I could have stayed there and listened to her all day,” Mobley said. “I went with my three sisters and we all had a wonderful time. It was my first storytelling event but it won’t be my last. I’m hooked. Thanks to Barbara McBride Smith, I’m a storytelling convert. I don’t see how in the world she could tell a story and keep it going like that. It was just like you were there.”

For Mobley, McBride-Smith’s performance was a walk down memory lane.

“I laughed and I cried but, most of all, I remembered,” she said. “I think all of us who grew up in the 1950s and 60s got to go back ‘home’ for a little while. It was wonderful to be there.”

Mobley lives in rural Pike County but McBride-Smith’s story resonated just as strongly with visitors from the hinterlands of North Carolina and the big city of Chicago.

McBride-Smith’s story struck a chord deep within Susan Lewis of the Tar Heel State.

“She was fantastic,” Lewis said. “The story that she told was wonderfully sweet and brought back many memories. It was as funny as it was sweet. It was hard, too, to keep back the tears. The We Piddle Around Theater is a wonderful place. To be there and to hear the story, it just touched my heart. I think everyone was touched by it.”

Wynnette Fryer and her daughter-in-law, Juliene Fryer, gave the storytelling event two-thumbs up. One from each.

“I was right there with Barbara McBride-Smith from the beginning to the end,” said Wynnette Fryer, who is originally from Brundidge. “I liked hearing one story that took you through so many emotions. And, living in Illinois, I was so proud to hear her say ‘vi-ena’ sausage. I’m trying to learn to say Vienna but it’s not working.”

Juliene Fryer said the entire package, the music of Lenny Trawick, the storytelling of McBride-Smith, the great food and the atmosphere of the theater made for a perfect afternoon with the girls.

Barbara McBride-Smith will be in concert again tonight at the We Piddle Around Theater. Music will be presented by the Benton Brothers and The Party Dolls — Sherry Davis, Jane Stroud and others.

The performance is sold out.