I’m crazy about storytelling. As my children have moved out and started their lives and families, I have seen things they value from their childhood that surprised me. One of those things is storytelling. I have a passion for stories, and a lot of them originate from situations I experienced with my own father. He was a naturalist and minimalist in his own way, which meant we spent vast amounts of time outdoors. Many trips I look back on and wonder how we survived at all, let alone in good health.

I did not have it in me to be as brave as my father — he would take us into the wilderness with nothing but a bag of apples and four pounds of pretzels, and those foods got us to the middle of nowhere and somehow back. If he was testing mental boundaries on a young person eating their 14th apple in two days, it is not a lesson I decided to pass on to my children. But when I tell these stories, the point is not about my father lacking responsibility. I share them with my children to find the fun and humor in my dad’s bold lack of planning. I like to think it teaches them how to embellish the minor discomforts and irritants of life into a great story that can be told and retold for generations. The memories steeped in these stories help keep our family lore alive.

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