Everyone has a Story to Tell

I meet the most FASCINATING people when I travel! Friends have told me I can strike up a conversation with a brick wall… and it will answer back. Well… I doubt that’s true… however when I travel I DO initiate conversations with strangers. By the time we have landed, pulled into the station or finished our drinks, I usually have another interesting story tucked away in the back recesses of my brain. Everyone has a story to tell.

Speaking with strangers is kind of like reading Facebook posts… you only hear the really fun and exciting stories. No one tells me the boring, everyday humdrum stuff that life is really made up of. No… I get to hear their passions, their dreams, why they are on the plane and so much more. Knowing I will most likely never see them again makes them feel comfortable and open up more. Are the stories even true, I ask myself? Who cares, is my reply… I was entertained and that’s all that matters.

I keep a journal. I’d like to say I write in it every day… well, I used to… but I don’t any more. Long story… I won’t go in to the details of why I don’t… BUT, I stumbled across a journal from a year ago and began to flip through the pages. WOW! I was struck by the entry I made of a guy I met on a plane. I wrote in every amazing detail he shared with me. His journey was so incredible it was difficult to believe it was true… but he had pictures to prove it… so I believed every word.Pen and PaperEUREKA! I should write these stories and share them with you, my brain screamed at me. What a GREAT idea, I answered back. I sat still for a moment and came up with an enterprising idea… then ran it passed a few friends, who thought it was a SUPER idea! So…. My great idea is to write the stories, then post them as an e-book.

Now here’s the really INGENIOUS part of the plan… I have also had the pleasure of ‘bumping’ into people without sharing stories. You know… when you see a family trying to take a ‘group shot’ and you offer to take the photo for them? Or… when I go to an Estate Sale and learn about the people who lived there? Some of them were so interesting in their own right that I can easily MAKE UP a story of their life… total FICTION!!! The goal for you, as the reader, will be to VOTE if you think the story is fact or fiction.

I will release one short story a month for an entire year… for a total of 12 stories. At the end of the year I will take all of the people who voted correctly and hold a lottery for a prize. I haven’t decided what the prize will be yet… most likely a hefty Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the final book when the stories are all combined… but the details will be ironed out in a few days before I actually make this ‘go live’ on October 1, 2015.

Don’t freak if you know me personally. I will not write about you. Even if you don’t know me that well, but we have some kind of contact… I WILL NOT WRITE ABOUT YOU!!! The stories I will share are of people I have only met once in my life for a very brief moment and will never see, hear from, or have any means of contacting them again. I figure if they had the courage to tell a complete stranger the story of their life… then I should feel free to write about it and share it with you. In most cases I don’t even know their name or where they live.

I’m anxious to see how this idea pans out. For ME… I get to keep my writing skills ‘greased’. I want to see if I write differently when telling the truth, or if my style changes when making something up. In addition to explore the notion that writing might be a career path for me. YOU benefit by being entertained, hopefully winning a prize, and learning about very interesting people… in addition to judging if I’m a decent writer or not.

Mark your calendars! The fun begins October 1st. I will be posting the link/s on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/deb.hunter AND website www.debhathaway.com. I hope you decide to play along!

EDIT: This project has been delayed a month to a month and a half. Life has caught up with me and I need to learn how to publish my stories the best way.

 

 

Are You Ready for Some Football???

Philadelphia-Eagles-logoAre your ready for some football??? Uh… no, not really. However, one of the most extraordinary trips of my life revolves around football.

It’s 1998. Although my husband is exhibiting signs of some kind of illness, he hasn’t been diagnosed with ALS as yet. All we know is that ‘something’ isn’t right… but symptoms aren’t bad enough to consult a doctor. He is weak in his arms and although he walks miles a day for exercise he seems to be tripping often.

This whole fun vacation began with an excited phone call from my brother-in-law. Apparently he was friends with some guy named Tommy McDonald who has just been nominated into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Not only that… but this guy Tommy had extra ‘family’ tickets to the event and offered them to my brother-in-law. He asked us to go with him.

Well… my husband went CRAZY!!! Tommy McDonald??? Woo! Hoo! Does life get any better than this??? He was sooooo excited!!! Tommy McDonald was one of his most loved and revered players of the Philadelphia Eagles football team from ‘way back when’. Me? Not so much. I had no clue who this guy was or what he meant to not only my husband, but so many other football fanatics.

So it was decreed that our summer vacation was going to be a trip to, of all places, Canton, Ohio to participate in the Football Hall of Fame ceremonies. Oh joy (not). Our son was only 12 years old and therefore was not given a choice… he HAD to come along. Our girls however were old enough to make their own decision… and even though I tried my very best to bribe them with a shopping trip for an entire new wardrobe at a local mall in Canton, they would decide to NOT join us. Sigh. I would be the only female on this totally testosterone filled trip. I was less than thrilled to be spending my only summer vacation driving to, of all places… Canton, Ohio.

Early morning of July 30, 1998 the three of us took off for Ohio with me at the wheel of our Subaru. We arrived late afternoon with me still less than enthused about this trip. I guess this is what marriage is all about. Clearly my husband wanted to go to this event… it meant a lot to him. My son and I could have cared ‘two figs’ about it. As a matter of fact I packed a knitting project and bathing suit assuming I would have two whole days to sit by a hotel pool and work on a project. Oh… how wrong I was!!!

As soon as we arrived we were given a packet of information, which included an itinerary of events and a special badge. It was a ‘family’ badge allowing us into private parties meant only for families of the nominees. Whoa!!!

My brother-in-law met us in our hotel room. Once the ‘hellos’ were over we decided we were hungry and needed to find some place to dine. While those two chatted… I read the packet of information. “Uh, guys??? I think our badges get us into a private party for the inductees, their families, fellow players and coaches. Going on RIGHT NOW!”

“No!” my brother-in-law shouted.

“Yes, I think so”. I replied.

Excitedly we all read the information again… then immediately took off for the party.

Totally prepared to be turned away at the door… we surged on any way. Sure enough, we timidly flashed our badges and security guards magically allowed us entry into the most AWESOME football party of all time!! We felt like celebrities in our own right as we walked past football fans lined three deep along the sidewalk hoping to catch a glimpse of football giants, in hopes of getting an autograph… into the inner sanctum of football nirvana.

Once inside my husband and brother-in-law’s jaws dropped as they hobnobbed with players and coaches up until this moment they have only seen on television. It was all lost on me. Instead I located Tommy McDonald’s family to thank them for allowing us to ‘horn in’ on this most momentous family occasion. They were all so sweet and accommodating.

We were treated as royalty as the festivities continued with special bus transportation to the annual parade down Main Street, seats in the VIP Grandstand, Private seating in the VIP tent with lunch (where I engaged in one-on-one conversations with soap opera stars… whom I didn’t know, but my friends SWOONED over when they found out), and a dinner in a convention center where some football star whose name I can’t remember sat at the head of the table and the night’s festivities was hosted by the one and only Chris “Boomer” Berman.

Our special badges also gave us priority seating at the actual Induction ceremony… second row in fact. I sat in awe as I looked around at the THOUSANDS of fans corralled behind the fence on the hill behind me. Any one of them would have cheerfully paid me thousands of dollars to have my seat at this event. *Side note… I also attended a World Series Game in 1969… Mets vs Orioles…private box seats… where I would have gladly given my seat away to any of the THOUSANDS of fans more deserving than I. Any way…

The sun was beating down on us that searing summer day in Ohio. It was HOT and becoming most uncomfortable. Tommy McDonald’s family was near by as well as the families of the other inductees… Paul Krause, Anthony Munoz, Mike Singletary, and Dwight Stephenson. Oh, and WHO sat directly in front of me blocking my view because of his height and presence??? None other than a football player I actually HEARD of… Harold Carmichael!!!! I only knew his name because he was a fellow Eagle’s player. Since our family ‘bleeds green’, I was excited.

Once the weekend was over, I looked back on it and realized that although football wasn’t my ‘thing’… I had a wonderful time. Mostly because the McDonald Family was so nice and friendly, in addition to making us feel welcomed… but also because I felt like royalty being included into the ‘inner circle’. Also… it was a trip I wasn’t thrilled to take… only doing it for my husband… yet finding I had a fabulous time after all. It was such a surprise!!!

Soooooo… am I ready for some football? Nope. The Eagle’s games aren’t broadcast here at the Jersey Shore… unless they are pit against the Giants… or are Monday Night’s game. I’m not interested in any other team.

My husband passed away 8 years ago from ALS, but that summer weekend in Canton, Ohio as a pseudo family member of Tommy McDonald was a bright highlight in his life… and therefore in mine also.