Storytelling Sunday Three? There is no excuse for not joining in with this one - everyone can do it! Pick Your Precious is about celebrating the little things you love: those souvenirs, bits and pieces, things from your past you can't bear to throw out. You know, the special little something you have tucked away in a drawer or up on a shelf? Or the thing you love most in a room? Or the object you would save if you knew you had to leave the country? Your favourite things.
Ready to begin
James the Falorie Man
The beginning of March: it always appears as a surprise! St. Patrick's day right in the middle, too; that gave me an idea. I decided to look for a precious that was Irish: something that would help me give a special wave to my storytelling friends who are on scrapping retreats across the sea from me this weekend. I know there are a few! Wait, did I say something? I meant someone. He has been in our family for, oh maybe close to fifty years now, he's certainly precious to us - and when I lifted him from his box this week, I had no idea of the path he would set me on. Meet James the Falorie Man
What do you mean, you've never met a Falorie Man before? No, he's not a Leprechaun: he's from the North of Ireland, for a start, he features in an old street song and his name isn't actually Irish at all. There is some thought that it comes from the English "forlorn", which round here can also mean "mysterious". But enough of the learnin'..
..there aren't too many of them around; and James may well be the only one with his very own story, written by my Grandpa for my aunt when she was a little girl. So, here was my plan: I would go to my Mum's, fetch James, give him a bath and take his picture - and then pull out the manuscript and give you the best bits. I thought of telling you how James lived in a lush, little green glen which can still be found round here if you know where to look, and how he loved to take his boots off and paddle in the stream, all the while talking to his friend Sally the Seagull. How those boots fell into the water and got swallowed by a fish, and how Sally rescued them and how, to thank her, James prepared a feast: the very first ever meal of fish and chips, cut from good Irish potatoes and eaten to the strains of flutes and fiddles and joyous celebration.
But I couldn't find it. I couldn't put my hand on the copy I was sure I had, on that best blue Basildon Bond paper my Grandpa used for his writing. It wasn't in any of my special-things-places...and I knew that that meant only one thing. Something I hadn't been planning on. The tape.
Because when Grandpa passed on his story to me, well over thirty years ago now, he also gave me a cassette tape. A recording he had made of his reading of the tale; and I hadn't listened to it in all that time: not since he died, probably. I hadn't been planning on listening to it now; but I wanted the details and I thought I could do it; and, so, on a bright, sunny afternoon this week, I slide the tape into its slot and pressed play. The only machine able to do it sits beside my scrapbooking table, and maybe that was what made it right, because Grandpa would most definitely approved of scrapbooking.
I heard him retell the story he called The First Supper; and then those teenagers of mine appeared and they heard him too; and, as they listened to the voice of a man born before Titanic sailed, they realise, maybe for the first time, how rooted they are in this fine city of shipyards and red brick. That was good. They lifted James from his new seat on the shelf and pulled up his socks and straightened his coat, and reached back, way into the last century and before. For Falorie Men have been around a long time and more besides, and ours isn't planning on leaving any time soon.
Maybe you'll here from him again. If I work out a way of letting you listen, I'll do it. If I finish up transcribing the story, you'll be the first to know. But, for today, that's all there is. My story is done.
How's yours coming? Show us some pictures, tell us the story behind whatever you choose: it's all good. Write your post, with an introduction linking back to Storytelling Sunday (so your readers get the idea, the more the merrier!) and come link us up. I'm looking forward to reading about your treasures..
..More information can be found on the Storytelling Sunday page. And, don't forget, any story will be welcomed. It doesn't have to be precious in any way at all! Whatever you have in your head will be just fine: small or tall, we'll read them all. And if you are reading in a Reader, click through now to join in...