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Smith to attend ‘feast of stories’

Six years ago, an ice storm kept storyteller Barbara McBride-Smith in Oklahoma rather than on the stage at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival.

Not to be outdone by Mother Nature, the Brundidge Historical Society invited McBride-Smith to be the featured teller at its June Buggin’ event in the spring.

McBride-Smith won the hearts of her audience with the story of how she lost her own heart to teenage heartthrob Ricky Nelson.

McBride-Smith’s performance of “Hello, Ricky Nelson, Goodbye Heart,” also placed her atop the BHS’ list of storytellers for its annual storytelling festival.

McBride-Smith will be one of the featured storytellers at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge and the Trojan Center Theater Troy this weekend.

She was a featured teller at the 2014 storytelling festival and the audience made it known, “We want her back.”

And folks were specific. They wanted to hear the mammogram story and the “preacher thing.”

Whether McBride-Smith will “oblige” them or not, it’s certain that she will again be a favorite among favorites.

“Barbara McBride-Smith is the female’s answer to Donald Davis,” said Cathie Steed, a member of the storytelling committee. “When she steps to the microphone, she takes off and she never slows down. She is originally from Texas and she still has that Texas twang. She does remind you of a carnival barker or a fire and brimstone preacher and I’m not even sure a preacher could hold a candle to her when she catches fire.”

McBride-Smith’s homespun stories conjure up visions of front porches and rocking chairs and are filled with laughter and love and compassion and warmth.

“Barbara McBride-Smith is a ball of energy whose heart is as soft as a fluff of cotton,” Steed said. “She is a favorite at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival and we are excited to have her back.”

Joining McBride-Smith on stage for the 9th Annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival will be Donald Davis, Josh Goforth and Tim Lowry. McBride-Smith said she feels so very lucky to be among them.

“The audiences at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival are the best and so is the Southern cooking, especially the fatback at Sisters,” she said. “It feels like a homecoming celebration with friends and kinfolks gathered ’round for a feast of stories.”

McBride-Smith will be the featured teller for the school performances for elementary, high school and college students today.

Barbara McBride-Smith grew up in Texas, was educated in Massachusetts, discovered the ways of the world on the Jersey shore, and finally settled down in Oklahoma. As a performing storyteller, she has entertained audiences across the United States and is frequently featured at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. She is a member of the National Storytelling Circle of Excellence and a recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award for Outstanding Contributions to Storytelling.

Tickets are available at The Messenger for the 6:30 p.m. Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival on Saturday at the Trojan Center Theater or by calling 334-372-1001 or 685-5524.

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival is sponsored in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.