Friday, August 24, 2012

A tale of two stories or Mary's Lunker

Tonight, Mary Gillihan did a program connecting the the stories of the past and the present for the Arkansas Women Blogger's Unplugged (#AWBU) conference. This conference is an amazing blend of urban and rural - yesterday, today and tomorrow. These women from all over Arkansas have come together in the Ozark hills. They traveled the winding roads to Mountain View and had adventures with deer, ground hogs and possums getting here. And now, these women - usually linked by modern technology - are sharing ideas and energy and friendship - face to face. It's the best of the old and the new, here at the Ozark Folk Center.

Mary Gillihan is an incredible performer, interpreter, musician, friend and fisherwoman. In addition to being the interpreter at the Ozark Folk Center since 1974, she is also part of the folk music trio Harmony; she and her husband perform their music together; and she shares programs that tell stories of her life here in the Ozarks. Some of the stories she shares were written by Charley Sandage and others come out of her life here in the hills.
Mary Gillihan, the ballad singer
Now, Mary is a serious fisherwoman. The great majority of her Thursday's are spent at HER spot on Mirror Lake. If you're really nice to her, she might show you where the Lake is, but her spot is sacred. Like all fisherpeople, Mary has some great stories. She gets the usual teasing, "Just how big was that fish?"

But we all watch her eating fish for lunch everyday at work, so, we know she is mostly telling the truth.

One of the things I am passionate about is the living traditions of these Ozark Hills. The stories, craftsmanship, values and beliefs of these hills are as unique now as they were 100 years ago. Mary's stories of her life today are as fascinating and unique as those she shares from Almeda Riddle, Jean Jennings and other women ballad singers of the Ozark past.

Mary and her Lunker

Mary wove her storytelling magic as the Ballad Singer of times past. Then, right before our eyes, she changed into the modern Mary, complete with fishing sneakers and a tackle vest. The Mary Gillihan of today told her wild fishing stories. These were stories of a women enjoying the waters, hills and resources of this little slice of heaven called Stone County, Arkansas. She told stories of fishing and the biggest fish she ever caught - the story of "Mary's Lunker."

 In case you're searching for the answers to the quiz - Mary's Lunker was 2 1/2 pounds, 5 ounces. It was 17 3/4 - inches long and 7 3/8 - inches wide.

I wonder, did it taste good?

1 comment:

RunningWhit said...

I loved Mary's storytelling session. She was so amazing to listen to and the song that you requested had the perfect lyrics for a group of women bloggers. It was so great meeting you and trying my hand at crafting. My "buttons" weren't that great but I'm hoping my mom can find a way to use them in her knitting.