“ON THE DAY WHEN MAN TOLD THE
STORY OF HIS LIFE TO MAN,
HISTORY WAS BORN.”
Alfred de Vigny
I am on the board of directors and publish the newsletter for a group called THE COWBOY STORYTELLERS OF THE WESTERN PLAINS. It is an interesting group of people that are trying to gather the stories of our past that don’t get recorded in the traditional history books. The point being to eventually produce a history book with these stories.
The group goes to communities for the local residents to tell the stories of the early days in the area. We go to Oklahoma in the spring and Kansas in the fall. It all started in a café in Seiling Oklahoma when a group of ranchers were telling tales and realized that when they are gone the stories die with them. And so it started, in 1993.
In the beginning the meetings were done four times a year. At each meeting there were locals that told the stories as close to first hand as possible. The stories of the settlers, cowboys, families, and the way of life. Each of these meetings were filmed for eventual transcribing for a book.
During the course of time a newsletter was sent out before each meeting with stories, poems, pictures, and information of where to meet and eat when going to each area. The areas included places like Enid, Medicine Lodge, Alva, Woodward, and places you would recognize. But more often it was in places like Durham, Slap Out, Seiling, Wilmore, and Canton.
Well the problem with history is that those generally interested are those of the age that their lives have become history. Younger people who have an interest in history are rare. I have even sent copies of the newsletter to History teachers and schools in the regions where we went for years. We never had one teacher or student ever show up even though the meetings cost was purely voluntary.
Now we are facing the point of whether we can continue to hold the meetings, especially in Kansas. It takes someone to step up and host the meeting. That entails getting the meeting site, (senior center, activity center, community center). Line up locals to tell their stories, and provide information on where to eat, and contact local musical talent. We have run out of anyone to step up in Kansas. We skipped the fall meeting last year and are in danger of having to do it again this year. And this also makes us face the possibility that there is no longer the ability to keep the organization alive much longer.
Even the Board of Directors is getting long in the tooth and need younger blood to come on board to keep us alive.
I hope that my readers will step up and offer to host the October meeting in their community. I have so many great memories and friends that I have met while going to the Storytellers meetings. It seems a shame to let such a great effort die.
If you can take the time to host our Kansas event please contact me at 620-213-2403 or [email protected]. You may be responsible for your communities stories to be told and recorded and meet a group of people who love history as much as you do.