Goin’ back to hog heaven

Published 7:30 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

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Hog heaven. That’s where I’m punchin’ my ticket for come storytelling time in Tennessee.

Now, there’s a difference between heaven and hog heaven.

Heaven is place that the Lord has prepared for us, if we’ve been good enough to get by St. Peter and on through the Pearly Gates.

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Hog heaven is where we waller around in all the goodness of our heavenly place right here on earth.

It was a rainy, cold Sunday morning in Jonesborough the last day of the National Storytelling Festival

I pulled the blanket that was covering my knees up over my shoulders to keep out the icy wind that was blowing through the flap of the circus-like tent.

More than a thousand people filled the tent and those, who weren’t fortunate enough to get a seat, rimmed the outside, two and three deep.

All of those people were crowded together in stillness and quietness that defines a Sunday morning worship service. But, there was no pulpit, no preacher, no offering plate to be passed around. However, it was a sacred place. The perfect place for the telling of sacred stories.

What the instrument was that the storyteller played, I don’t remember.

But, he held it close and played single notes of “Amazing Grace,” The audience joined in the singing of the poetry.

There was something “sacred” about those singing voices – songbird like. Voices from the Deep South. Voices from Appalachia, from the Midwest, the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountains and the West Coast. Voices from Canada and Mexico and those from across the “big pond.”

The voices blended into a soft sacred sound that is Jonesborough on Sunday morning.

And, the stories flowed like sweet water from a well.

Sunday at Jonesborough is reserved for the telling of sacred stories. Stories that make their way into the deep reaches of the heart and stay with you all the long way home and beyond.

Jonesborough is where I want to be the first weekend in October and that Sunday morning is a sacred place to be.

So, if I make it to heaven, I hope the Good Lord’s got me a cabin right on the Snake River and at the base of the Grand Teton Mountains. That’s the kind of heaven I want for me.

I’ve already been to hog heaven. And, Good Lord willing, I’ll be there when the J’boro celebrates 50 years of storytelling in October 2022.