Long ago storytellers used to travel from place to place, telling and learning stories everywhere they went. Come to think of it, they still do. But of all the storytellers I know, few travel quite like Kathleen Gill, who’ll be the featured teller this month at storytelling open mic. (June 14th, 7 pm, at Caffè Lena in Saratoga, NY.) Kathleen is an ardent hiker with a passion and a knack for sharing stories along the way. And it seems there are few trails she hasn’t followed.
When I mention Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada, near the potato farm where my family had lived for generations, Kathleen replies, “Sure, great place. I went to a fantastic fiddling festival there when I hiked the international Applachian trail.” [A fiddling festival? Who knew?] Believe me, if ever a place was off the beaten track, it’s Plaster Rock. Think Cariboo, Maine. Now head north.
When I mention heavy World War I casualties in Newfoundland, Kathleen jumps into the story of the night that the lights went out in St. Johns. Men went from house to house to tell families that 684 of their young men, 91% of all the Newfoundlanders asked to “go over the top” that day had died. It was in July of 1916 at the battle of the Somme. She heard that story hiking in Newfoundland.
Over several summers, Kathleen hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail–then wrote a book about it, Story Walking the Appalachian Trail. Look for it; it’s a good read.
Lately Kathleen has been coping with some major health issues. For now, she’s limited in what she can do. But amazingly, she tells me she still finds ways to go hiking.
I don’t know if she’ll tell hiking stories on June 14th. Her repertoire is rich. But I know I’ll be there. If you’re in the area, why don’t you come too?
Saratoga Storytelling Open Mic
June 14th, at 7 pm at Caffè Lena, Saratoga, NY