Top of Utah Voices: Life is the stories you can tell

Monday , July 21, 2014 - 12:55 PM

Teresa Hislop

After eating a seven-cricket meal, the black widow living in the canning jar that sat on our kitchen counter laid a dime-sized, spherical shaped, white egg sac. Interesting but not alarming ... until the eggs hatched. What does one do with hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of tiny, baby black widows? It seemed morally wrong to kill infants of any kind, even baby black widows, but we did not feel quite right about keeping them either. What do people in northern Utah do when they have something they don’t want? Advertise online, of course. Our ad read: “Free to a good home. Baby Black Widow spiders. Hatched 7/22/12. Hundreds to choose from. ” Michael chose them all. He met us in SLC and took the entire brood.

Why house a large poisonous arachnid in a jar on the table? There are several reasons. ... Watching it trap and wrap its prey was an incredible exercise in revulsion resistance. Natural history lessons for my children were another reason. The main reason, however, for keeping a spider as a pet was that it made a great story. Seeing a black widow eat was fun (in a gruesome sort of way); telling others about watching our pet black widow eat was infinitely more fun.

Life is the stories you can tell. Sometimes it is great to tell life’s stories — a man named Michael really did respond to our ad — and sometimes it is great just to be alive at the end of the story to be able to tell it — ever driven over Oregon’s Santiam pass in a blizzard? Sometimes stories push us into adventures — like when I almost lost my mom on a flashlight hike in Arches — and sometimes stories pull us through adventures — I knew puking on the cop’s boots when I was pregnant would be funny someday. ... Sometimes we are grateful to live the story — running a Ragnar race with my children was a precious, priceless experience — and sometimes we are grateful just to have lived through it — several years without a steady income is not an something I want to repeat. When all is said and done, at the end of the day (or the decade or. ...), our lives are a compilation of the stories we can tell.

Story telling requires story living and story living often requires story hunting. While it is true that many stories find us unaided, it is also true that many more stories will be found if we seek them. Story hunting is an attitude that enriches life; do it for the story! Run for public office. Why? Because it might make a difference ... and because it will make a story. (I filed a candidacy and found out two days later that my boss filed to run for the same office. ... Talk about a story!) Play crochet in the snow. Why? Because you might have fun ... and because it will make a story. Give your daughter flowers. Why? Because it might change your relationship ... and because it will give her a story.

Everyone loves a good story and it is even more fun to live a good story than it is to hear a good story. If you don’t have stories to tell, then turn off the TV, put down the Wii, get out of the couch, and go find one. Grab life with both hands and live it. Run a 5K. (We’d love to have you at Roy Days, http://www.roydays.com/uploads/Roy_Days_5K_Flyer_2014.pdf) Enter something in the Weber County Fair (go to http://www.webercountyfair.org/entries for more information). Write a letter to the editor. (My father did and it got him a trip to Washington D.C. and a chance to shake President Bush’s hand ... which is another story.) Attend a boxing match, go on a First Friday Art Walk, skip rocks in the Ogden River. Seek it! Live it! Love it! Tell it!!

Put yourself in a story’s way....Go out and live a story today.

Teresa Noel Hislop is a part time teacher, a full time mother and wife, and an all-the-time student of life. Fresh blueberries, buttered (real) popcorn, and open windows bring her joy; lost keys and people who go on and on and on and on…..drive her crazy. Teresa loves sisters, serendipity and STORIES! She shares her stories almost weekly at www.lifeisthestoriesyoucantell.com and invites you to share your stories with her at thislop24@gmail.com

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