Friday, June 15, 2007


by Candy Calvert

My suspicion is that, as writers, we were each exposed to a memorable storyteller at an early age, whether it was a parent, grandparent, teacher, neighbor, friend, TV personality. . . or whoever. There was someone, somewhere, who cast an incredible spell over us, had the ability to mesmerize with a word or a gesture . . . a delicious beckoning into that world of “What If?”

For me, it was my father, Orville Marley Bramble. And he had my rapt attention from my earliest recollections, because--boy howdy--the man could tell a story!
Some might have called them tall tales, fabrications of truth, even meanderings that bordered on the fringe of certifiable delusion. But for me, they were the purest form of entertainment. I would beg Dad to tell a story and he’d smile, purse his lips, and add a dramatic heavenward roll of his dark eyes, murmuring, “Hmmm . . . Well. Let. Me. See.” And then . . . the words would flow. Subject matter? Anything that caught his fancy: Magic Glow Worms. The Biggest Fish in Oak Lake. How A Dog Outsmarted The Super Flea. Space Ships in the Backyard. The Amazing Mr. Leaf. Anything was game, everything rolled off his tongue. And all were accompanied by wild arm gestures, the hiss of elongated S’s, and a maddening pause at the most critical . . . moments.

Those stories--those wonderful stories-- made every intermission at every drive-in movie, every long, carsick-inducing drive to the beach, every lights-out, stormy power failure . . . as enticing as freshly spun cotton candy.

Sunday is Father’s Day. I will be taking one last drive with my first storyteller--to a beach in Santa Cruz, California. Where, at his request, I’ll scatter his ashes in the ocean he loved to fish.
Dad's brave fight against cancer is over. And I'm glad that I was able to spend time with him toward the end. That I could tell him once more--as I did in the dedication of my very first Midnight Ink mystery--that he was “the supreme storyteller” in my life. To thank him, and to tell him that his imagination and energy will always inspire me.

My blog entry today, is in honor of my father. Thank you for indulging me.

Who was your most memorable storyteller?


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Candy, thank you for the wonderful and touching post and for making me cry ... in a good way! What a wonderful tribute to your father on this special weekend. Have a lovely trip with your dear old Dad.

If you come to Los Angeles after Santa Cruz, please let me know. I'd love to see you. In any case, I'll be thinking about you.

Joe Moore said...

A wonderful tribute, Candy. Your father must have been a great man, one we all would have been honored to know.


Mark Combes said...


Well it must be a day for remember loved ones. I was listening to Johnny Cash sing Hank Williams' "The Evening Train" this morning. Now you've got me misted up all over again.

The Evening Train
-Hank Williams

The baby's eyes are red from weeping
It's little heart is filled with pain
And Daddy cried they're taking Mama
Away from us on the evening train

I heard the laughter at the depot
But my tears fell like the rain
When I saw them place that long white casket
In the baggage coach of the evening train

As I turned to walk away from the depot
It seemed I heard her call my name
Take care of baby and tell him darling
That I'm going home on the evening train

I pray that God will give me courage
To carry on til we meet again
It's hard to know she's gone forever
They're carrying her home on the evening train

Nina Wright said...

Candy--You are your father's best legacy, I have no doubt. He is that blazing star of love and pride in the sky above you every night.


Candy Calvert said...

Thank you all so much for the kind words, and Mark--for Hank and Johnny. This is all so inevitable and universal, of course. Even so, there's no way to prepare, nothing to do but experience it. And let the journey evolve into a story one day, of course. Dad will be completely okay with that, especially if I embellish like the devil!
Sue Ann, thanks for the invite--I'd love to take you up on it, but can't do it this trip.
I've just arrived in California after a day of flying since the wee hours--the 3:55 AM post here wasn't a techno glitch!

Again, you guys are great.


Julia Buckley said...

Candy, that was a beautiful tribute. I'm sorry to hear about your father's passing, but glad to hear you had such a wonderful bond.

I know he'll continue to influence you and your writing forever.