Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tribute to Brother Blue

    I first began hearing about Brother Blue in 1990. Everytime I told stories to an audience with college students, they would ask me if I knew Blue.  College kids loved his color and his wisdom. They admired his journey from the mean streets to his life's dream of trying to save the world, story by story.
    I fnally heard Blue tell stories at a church in Hartford, Connecticut in 1991.  Standing on the stage, a gaunt man in a colorful costume that brought to mind a court jester, he was dazzling. I was not impressed with his storytelling at first. He rambled and fidgeted.  He was hard to follow. Midway through his performance, however, he began his butterfly story, and suddenly I was riveted.  The story was sweet, beautiful, and, yes, brilliant.  I became a fan.  I began to follow his peformances, hoping to witness that brilliance again.  It was always worth the wait, however long.
    For years, Blue and his wife Ruth hosted a weekly open mike storytelling series at the Book Cellar Cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  They made the venue a safe place for beginners to share the stories that had been laid on their hearts.  At the end of each performance, he would share appreciations. Then he would wave his arms accross the room as the audience joined him in his trademark "aaaaaaah!"  Even the most fragile tellers were welcomed and accepted.  Everyone who came to Blue's open mike storytelling became part of his family.  There were no outcasts in Blue's presence.  He was the essence of love.
    This if for you, Blue......aaaaaaaaaaah!

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