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Ex Fabula: Thanksgiving

Art Montes
Storyteller David Lee

This time of year is filled to the festive brim with food, friends, family and travel. So as you’re finishing off the last of the leftover pie, settle in with some stories about creating new traditions and the transformative power of patience.

Our first teller, David Lee, told the audience at the December 2017 "Tradition" StorySlam that he grew up in a house that made fried rice, chow mein and roasted pork each Thanksgiving. While this was a delicious way to celebrate, he was only introduced to a traditional “Mayflower” Thanksgiving during his college years. The all-day food extravaganza, the football, the camaraderie – he loved it all. His senior year, he and his roommate spontaneously decided to make a traditional spread for his mother, who was visiting for the holiday. One problem, though: David had no idea how to cook. Would he pull it off? Would it taste good enough to win back the love of an ex-girlfriend?

Credit Art Montes
Storyteller Sue Schoeppel

Sometimes, tradition can prevent learning new things and slow the process of modernization, as Sue Shoeppel learned when she bought her elderly father a smartphone. As she explained at the "Misunderstood" Non-Competitive StorySlam in October, the 80-year-old engineer from Jersey was smart but stubborn. After weeks of phone calls and finally an in-person visit to try to get her father to master the basics, Sue and her brother gave up in frustration. But no sooner then when she arranged to return the phone that she witnessed a small miracle: her young daughter successfully schooling her grandfather in taps and swipes. As it turned out, patience, love and respect did the trick.

Listen to David and Sue's stories here: 

UPCOMING EVENTS: A public Storytelling Workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at 5 Wise Workshop, 3524 W. National Ave. in Milwaukee. $30 if you register before November 24; $45 if you register after. The next StorySlam (non-competitive) will have the theme “Beginner’s Luck” and will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Mr. J’s Lounge, 4610 W. Fond du Lac Ave. in Milwaukee. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Visit for more information.

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