Storytelling festival draws to a close

Published 10:40 pm Saturday, January 25, 2014


When Donald Davis starts filling out his calendar, the last weekend of January gets marked off immediately. He told the audience of the last storytelling session that he always saves that weekend for Troy.

“And you should, too,” he said.

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Johnny Steed, emcee of the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival, credited Davis’ recurring performances at each year’s festival for the success of the event.

“If we have some measure of success, it’s because of Donald Davis,” he said.

Davis had some help entertaining a crowd that nearly filled every seat of Saturday’s three sessions. Joining him on stage with their versions of homespun tales were Barbara McBride Smith, Dolores Hydock and Bill Lepp.

Saturday’s stories had audiences laughing so hard they cried and on their feet with a standing ovation by the end of the night.

McBride Smith shared the antics of married life and a few sentimental stories of her mother, “a woman who could stretch a dollar bill like a rubber band.”

Hydock’s mom was on her mind, as well. She painted a picture of the mom she remembered as a 5-year-old and the smells of Aquanet, Chanel No. 5, Kiwi shoe polish and Listerine that permeated the house when her parents got ready for a night out.

Hydock described her dad’s present to her mom as, “an invitation to dance to music just the two of them could hear.”

Steed said a critic once described Lepp as a cross between Bill Cosby and Jeff Foxworthy. Saturday’s audiences got a taste of both, as Lepp shared the legend of the “bluffalo” and the disappointments he felt as a 5-year-old with a limited vocabulary.

Davis talked about his childhood and his time as a minister. His comical stories of a granddaddy who grew rocks and his mother who was sure her children had invented evil reminded Linda Davis of exactly why she returns to the festival year after year.

“I just love Donald Davis,” she said. “Every time I’ve seen him, he’s told something different. And I’ve laughed until I almost wet my pants.”