Thinkin’ about a piddler

Published 6:30 pm Friday, January 27, 2023

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The 16th Annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival opened last night at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge.

The pandemic had put the festival in limbo for two years so members of the sponsoring Brundidge Historical Society didn’t know what to expect.

Would the audience be back? Would it be the same exciting and fun last weekend in January that it had been since 2007? Of course, with storytellers Donald Davis, Barbara McBride-Smith, Bil Lepp and Tim Lowry, how could it miss.

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However, someone was missing at the 2023 Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival.

That peppy gal with a Waco drawl and a spark that would light up the darkest night had to miss the festival due to illness.

She was missed.

Barbara McBride-Smith has been a teller at the storytelling festival and at other events at the We Piddle Around Theater, including the June Buggin’ event that is as much fun and as unpredictable as the flight of a June bug, a tailor-made event for Barbara McBride-Smith.

Barbara delighted the audiences with her nostalgic “Hello, Ricky Nelson, Goodbye Heart,” performance, brought tears to every eye with the story of her mama’s button box and made folks laugh right out of their seats with her descriptive preparations for her mammogram and her knowledge of the Good Book.

One year, Barbara was June Bugging’ during the weekend of Kids’ Free Fishing Day. She girly-giggled at the splashing by a truckload of catfish.  She enjoyed visiting the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and Troy University’s IAC. 

She could hardly wait to sink her teeth into fatback and tomato biscuits at Sisters. She enjoyed her overnight stays at Salem Baptist Church’s “old” parsonage. She got up early for walks around “Mayberry.” Even though no one knew who she was or what she was about, they waved and she waved back until she just about wore her arm out.

Barbara McBride-Smith has been more than a storyteller. She has been a story-maker when she was in our town and, for sure, other towns as well.

Prayers, now, for Barbara who has been a blessing everywhere she has piddled around,