How many people do you know who actually took the proverbial basket weaving course in college? Probably none if you still think that basket weaving, underwater or otherwise, is a GPA booster. I am here to testify that weaving a basket (in the Cherokee Indian tradition, at least) is one of the most challenging tasks I was ever assigned.
This assignment was a third of my final grade in my undergrad, elective folklore class. The subject matter was a really nice break from my science and psychology classes, not to mention the enormous textbooks and lab hours required for many of them…so I thought. I spent over one hundred hours harvesting river cane, shaving and shaping strips (the by-product pictured here), and finally weaving them together. I also sacrificed my hands to many a “cane cut”, which can be a little deeper than the traditional paper cut. In the end, however, I had a bona fide woven basket of which I was extremely proud.
Another topic of this survey course was oral history, and we each were to complete an oral history interview with someone a couple generations our senior. The forty-five minutes of my grandfather’s stories went by very quickly. The hours of dictation that followed crawled on. But once again, I cherished the final product, and was able to give copies to my entire family.
It was because of those assignments that I developed a deep appreciation for the work of Dolores Hydock the first time I saw her perform.
Dolores is a true storyteller, simply captivating. I am always so entertained that I forget I am learning something from her. The lessons of life sneak and sink in unbeknown to any audience member. And that is as it should be. We live in small stories, part of a Great Story, and it seems elementary that we would learn well through them. While other cultures around the world still pass on their history to the next generation orally, our daily lives drown out the literary elements. Mostly, we encounter story in television and film and the occasional best seller or recommended reading. These are not bad mediums; in fact, I find them great windows to the world at times. But I encourage you to take a break from these. Take in a live story-telling. I believe you will appreciate what Dolores and others like her are preserving with their passion and talents.
I get regular emails from Dolores that keep me informed of upcoming events and shows. As I was adding a few to my calendar, it struck me that others should as well. See a listing of her upcoming events, and find one you can attend. Be it a lunch hour or a weekend outing, your time will be well spent!
If you cannot make it to an event, Dolores has recordings of many of her stories. You can even sample them on her website.
By the way, Dolores has graciously performed at a couple of events I have organized. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and is loved by our diverse group. If you are looking to fill the bill for an upcoming occasion, she might just be a perfect fit for you!