The time is almost upon us once again to hearken back in time through the power of storytelling, an almost lost art that is kept alive by a few, wonderfully talented people scattered across the country. Many people talk, but only a few can capture an imagination and make you feel ways that you may have never felt before or that you haven’t felt in a long, long time. Michael Reno Harrell is one of those talented people as he demonstrated at the Rotary Club of LaGrange this past Wednesday afternoon, February 28th, just a few days before the 22nd annual Azalea Storytelling Festival.
Harrell was 10 years old, sitting eagerly by a fire somewhere in the Carolina hills. His friends Stover and Sam, two well versed old men sat there with him, listening to the sounds of the dogs chasing a fox through the woods until he slipped straight from their paws. In another moment, Harrell was on the back of truck headed to a fair in order to learn the delicate art of tradin’. These are a few of the stories he told to the club that day through bursts of loud laughter from the crowd and ending with a powerful applause. Harrell had done it again, telling tales from old about liars, donkeys, and the crackle of fire in the Carolina night.
The Rotary Club and several other civic organizations and churches host the pre-festival events each year for the storytellers to get up close and personal with the citizens, sharing their zany and heartwarming stories to people all across the community. This time of the year is truly magical, as it is so hard to find stories that still captivate us in an always moving technological world. The tellers from Azalea can do it and do it well, keeping their art alive by club rooms and firelight for generations to come.