Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for December, 2018

Tom Swan Captures the Spirit of the Story

storytelling

Tom immerses himself in “Three Billy Goats Gruff” at the Salt Fork Festival.

There’s a secret to storytelling and Tom Swan has discovered the magical way to tell or read a story and make it come to life. Children listen closely as he tells his tales and even adults are drawn into his stories.

   Years ago Tom listened to the Minnesota Public Radio Show, “A Prairie Home Companion” as Garrison Keillor read “Tales of Lake Wobegon”. He read with such expression that Tom decided he would like to try telling stories too.

National Storytelling Festival

Tom’s daughter, Aili, and mother, Julia, accompanied him to the National Storytelling Festival.

   In order to get some first-hand experience at listening to great storytellers, Tom and his family have attended the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN several times. Here, all that is permitted to tell a story is a mic and a stool.

blue hair

Aili is with her dad, who wanted to surprise old college friends in Colorado so dyed his hair blue.

   People don’t understand how entertaining stories can be if they are told with enthusiasm. Stand-up comics and one-man shows depend completely on capturing the audience through expression. Too often readers and storytellers simply read, and that’s just not enough to seize and keep the attention of the audience.

Children's Moment

Tom continues the Swan Family tradition of performing with puppets.

   To tell a story well, the storyteller must bring back to their mind why the story is important to them. All stories are not fun; some have a poignant or nostalgic theme. Tom practices telling stories while driving his car. Most important is to memorize the first line. Once you get started the rest just flows into place.

   Usually, he has an outline in his mind so the major points are covered. When he writes the story down, it’s usually after he has told the story to a group. His first storytelling adventure was with the Zanesville Christian Women’s Club where he recited the poem, Cremation of Sam McGee, in a meaningful manner.

Installation as state president of the doctors' wives' club

The kilt reflected his Scottish ancestry when he was inducted as president of the Ohio Doctors’ Wives’ Club.

   Tom is married to Dr. Linda Swan, an obstetrician at Genesis Hospital in Zanesville. As a result, Tom has become very involved in the National AMA Alliance, which he calls The Doctors’ Wives’ Club. He has been state president and involved nationally in their organization.

Roasted Leg of lamb and kosher salt crusted new potatoes

One of his favorite dishes to prepare is roasted leg of lamb with new potatoes and red wine.

   Tom has led an unusual life as a housewife. Now, however, his children are adults with his daughter being in medical school and his son a State Trooper. So today he lives the life of a trophy husband when he isn’t out telling stories to places like The Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, Dickens Victorian Village, the Celtic Society, and various schools and churches. This man loves a mental challenge.

Buckeye 4 miler

Physical fitness is important in his life. He wore a kilt when participating in the Buckeye            4 -Mile Run.

   Tom grew up in Cambridge, Ohio and graduated from Miami University, where he majored in zoology and was a cheerleader. Since his father and grandfather were doctors, it seemed that he might follow in their footsteps. But Tom really didn’t enjoy the studying required to be a doctor so decided to become a high school science teacher, which he did for seven years.

Auctioneer

As auctioneer at the AMA Alliance in Chicago, he helped raise money for community health grants.

  Frequently, he has participated in Community Theater in Cambridge and Zanesville. Handbells are something he has also played over the years and still participates in a great handbell choir at the Grace United Methodist Church in Zanesville.

Sermon on the Mount

He let his hair grow long to portray Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount.

   Dedicated to fitness training, Tom decided to learn the Sermon on the Mount while bicycling. He then decided that he would like to portray Christ giving this sermon so Tom let his hair and beard grow so he would better fit the image. It is of great importance for a storyteller to get into the character he is portraying. He presented this program in several area churches.

Trixie

Tom donated his hair to Locks of Love after portraying Trixie.

   While his hair was long, Tom also decided to dress as Trixie with heels and a short skirt. When he was working with the Doctors’ Wives’ Club, he auctioned off the opportunity to take pictures with Trixie and raised quite a bit of money for their projects.

Judas back from the dead

Tom likes to tell all sides of the story so portrayed Judas returning from the dead.

   The role of Judas coming back from the dead was also a fulfilling role that he portrayed. Here Judas asked that he quit being terrorized as he was sorry for the betrayal. It ends with a warning to the audience not to be like Judas.

Chainsaw carver

Tom showed his artistic side by this chainsaw carving of a 10′ bear.

   Tom gave a bit of good advice to himself and others who find themselves overwhelmed with tasks and commitments. “Learn to say NO to anything that is neither necessary nor meaningful.” That’s great advice from a man who also likes to spend time with his granddaughter.

Baked Alaska

This Baked Alaska proves to be a popular dessert with the Swans.

   A favorite story of Tom’s is “Selfish Giant”, however, his favorite one to tell is “Three Billy Goats Gruff”. There he has fun using different voices to entertain children.

Queen Victoria and her royal bard

As a royal bard, Tom shared stories with Queen Victoria during Dickens Victorian Village season.

   Tom’s goal is to make a living telling stories. If you would enjoy having Tom tell stories at one of your events, you can contact him at lswan@columbus.rr.com.

With our Hardleys

Tom and Linda head off on their Vespa motorscooters, which Tom calls “Hardleys”.

   When Tom’s not telling stories these days, he enjoys riding motorbikes with his wife. He’s also been experimenting with making wine – from honey instead of fruit. Sometimes he adds a bit of cinnamon, cloves or orange for a different taste treat.

   No one can say that Tom Swan lives a boring life.

Smucker’s Creates Memorable Meals and Moments

With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good!

Smucker's horse drawn wagon

J.M. Smucker used a horse and cart to deliver apple butter when he started in 1897.

Trees planted by Johnny Appleseed became the source of apples for Jerome Monroe Smucker back in 1897. This farmer from Orville, Ohio built a cider mill to press fresh apple cider. It wasn’t long after that when Jerome sold his first jar of apple butter from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. The J.M. Smucker’s Company was formed.

 

Smucker's Entrance

Smucker’s entrance is lined with an apple orchard since that’s where it all began.

   Their early jams and jellies are still popular today even though their list of products has been greatly expanded. Family run for four generations, today more than 7000 employees carry on that fine early tradition in more than 30 locations across North America.

 

Smucker's Pollination Garden

During the summer, you can walk through their pollination garden.

   Smucker’s archway highlights their history as you enter. On the left-hand side is an apple orchard so fitting for someone who started the company from apple trees planted by Johnny Appleseed. In the summertime, they have a Pollination Garden for the incredible bees to get their nectar for the production of fruit.

 

Smucker's Jam Chandelier

This chandelier made of jelly jars hangs from the open rafters.

   The building even takes you back to those early years as the high open rafters show that it is all wood pegged. No nails were used in construction, much as those early settlers did long ago.

 

J.M. Smucker on apple bin

J.M. proudly stands on his bins of apples as he makes his proclamation.

   A small pictorial museum tells the history of JM Smucker from its beginning. It shows the changes that have been made to make it the present day company. A display of glasses that were used for canning Smucker’s over the years brought back memories of mom saving jelly jars for our drinking glasses at home. That could have been because someone broke a lot of glasses.

 

Smucker's overview

Capture the Christmas Spirit when you enter their Showcase Store.

   The company’s main purpose is to bring families together to share memorable meals and moments. The Smucker’s store has only been around since 1999. This Showcase Store displays all the brands that Smucker’s now makes, which has really expanded since their humble beginning. “Quality first and sales will follow” was the slogan of Willard Smucker.

 

Smucker's Sample Station with Denise

Not sure which flavor to buy?  Denise will help you at the Sample Station.

   Jams and jellies still rank at the top of the favorites list. If you see something you would like to taste, take an unopened jar to the Sample Table, where they most likely already have a jar of that opened for tasting. It’s a great place to make comparisons between brands. Smucker’s claims they are the only brand of jam that can make a slice of bread lively!

 

Smucker's Danilynn and peanut butter

Smucker’s Danimarie explains all the varieties of peanut butter they make.

   Every month has great specials in their store. When I visited, it was Peanut Butter Month where you could sample several different brands of peanut butter that they produce for different companies. My final decision was a jar of Smucker’s Peanut Butter. Creamy, my choice!

 

Smucker's Memorable Moments

Have someone’s picture placed on a label at their Memorable Moments station.

   Another special place is a spot called Memorable Moments. Here you can have your picture taken, or download a picture from your phone, and have it placed on the label of a jar of jam, jelly or peanut butter. How cute to have a child’s picture on his favorite jar of peanut butter!

 

DSC02755

Buy gifts for your dog or cat as well – made by Smucker’s.

   Surprisingly, they also make snacks for dogs and cats. Find treats like Milk-Bone or Meow Mix as a treat for your furry friend when you get home from shopping.

 

Smucker's Cafe

Here’s a great place to stop for a snack while shopping.

   Take a break at their Smucker’s Cafe where the bake an oven brick pizza while you wait. Or if you want to try something new, they make a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich that they say is delicious. Prices were very reasonable and products quite tasty.

Smucker's Sundae Shoppe

Make your own sundae at the Sundae Shoppe with a variety of toppings available.

 

Smucker's Gift Baskets

Check out their great gift baskets for every occasion.

   Smucker’s is a great place to shop for Christmas or any time of the year. They have beautiful gift baskets that you can purchase, or they will make one according to your wishes. Visit their festive store in Orrville, Ohio during the Christmas season or any time of the year.

 

Smucker's Store

Smucker’s Showroom features all their brands all year long.

   In every jar from Smucker’s, there’s more than you see. There are memories, smiles and love shared by people who make it.

Smucker’s is located west of I-77 in Orrville, Ohio on Route 57 just a quarter mile north of Route 30. Their headquarters is located at 1 Strawberry Lane.

Always a Christmas Tree for Bonnie

Bonnie Entrance

The entrance to Bonnie’s home gives a warm Christmas welcome.

Christmas trees appear in every room of the home of Bonnie Perkins, whose love for trees began back in childhood. Even though her mother wasn’t into decorating much for Christmas, there was always a tree at her grandmother’s house.

  Bonnie remembers a tree there that was so special it’s still stuck in her mind. Her grandmother decorated the tree with their gifts – handkerchiefs with Disney characters on them. Under the tree were bright oranges, a special treat.

Bonnie Living Room Tree

Bonnie tells about this tree, “The tree in the picture is my most special tree, closest to my heart. It has several decorations my kids made as children, some handmade ornaments from a friend, beautifully beaded balls from my late sister, and lots of memories of my husband when we would choose and buy a few new ornaments at Christmastime. Now in late years, I have things on it from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It always has a special spot in my bedroom. I see it the last thing at night and first thing in the morning!!!”

   Once she married Floyd Perkins, they always had a cut tree for Christmas. Now since she has so many trees, they are of the artificial kind.

   Her pet project for the past 15 years has been Wonderland of Trees, her favorite undertaking of everything she has ever done. This charity display and auction attracts area artists with a flair for creativity as they produce trees and holiday decorations that inspire.

Bonnie Awards

Bonnie displays her many awards for Wonderland of Trees. The glass trees in her hands are awards for Best of Show and People’s Choice.

   Not only does Bonnie help with the display of the Christmas paradise in the lobby of Southeastern Medical Center, but she also frequently is awarded several prizes. In past years, she has won People’s Choice and Best of Show Awards several times.

Bonnie Packed Branches

The branches of her trees have so many ornaments you can scarcely see the pine.

   Usually, she gets an idea “sometime during the end of the year and the first of October.” When someone wins awards year after year, you know they have a magical touch. Once the tree is decorated, spotting the pine beneath can be difficult. Any place the pine peeks through, Bonnie places a flower. Now the entire tree blooms in the color of her choice.

Bonnie Bathroom Tree

She calls this her Grinch Tree, which still makes a beautiful reflection.

   Her home is a showcase of holiday spirit. Many years it has been part of the Christmas Tour of Homes with people clamoring to get a look inside this beautiful house. It usually takes her a couple of weeks to decorate, and even though Bonnie is 83 years old, she climbs the ladder with ease

Bonnie Jewelry Tree

One tree people always remember at Bonnie’s is her Jewelry Tree.

   A favorite tree of visitors can be seen in one of her spare bedrooms. One year Bonnie had a bowl of costume jewelry that she wasn’t quite sure how to use. She also had many strands of pearls as that was a time of her life when she wore pearls frequently. It crossed her mind to give them to Goodwill.

   Then one evening she was resting in bed when an idea came to her. She would use the jewelry on a Christmas tree. That year the Jewelry Tree won all three awards at the Festival of Trees. People’s Choice, Best of Show, and Most Creative. But then it was sold at auction.

   Early the next day, Bonnie’s son and daughter arrived at her home with their families. They were carrying the Jewelry Tree as they had purchased it for their mother. This tree is special today for more reasons than awards.

Bonnie Big Tree

The largest tree in her house stands by the window in the living room.

   Her living room contains the largest tree which nearly reaches the 24′ ceiling. Also here is a beautiful fireplace built from two boxcar loads of copper ore sent from Colorado. An ornate chandelier from Spain adds a special touch to this room as well.

Bonnie Fireplace

Copper ore for this fireplace came from Colorado.

   No matter how beautiful everything appears, it’s a house to be lived in and enjoyed. Grandchildren enjoy games of hide and seek behind the furniture, and toys can often be found scattered around the rooms.

Bonnie Family Portrait

This family portrait hangs in her hallway as family is most important to Bonnie.

   Having started life in a poor beginning has made Bonnie appreciate her good fortune, but she assures that it came from hard work. Floyd and Bonnie stayed busy all through their life.

Bonnie Welcome Center

Not all Bonnie’s trees are at home. Every year she decorates a tree for the Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Center. She still climbs ladders!

   Even though Christmas trees are her passion, she also enjoys flower gardening, her fish ponds, grandchildren, and helping others. Something she looks forward to once a month is going with garden club members to make crafts with residents of Cardinal House.

Bonnie Pond

Bonnie's Garden

Here’s just a sampling of her beautiful flower beds.

   The most exciting thing she ever did in her life was to take a cruise around the world with her late husband, Floyd. For 101 days, Bonnie said she lived a life of nothing but luxury while seeing places like the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Pyramids of Egypt.

Bonnie Showing Horses

Bonnie shared this photo of her prizewinning Tennessee Walker, which she rode in competition.

   Even though Bonnie has enjoyed homes in Florida, thoroughbred Tennessee Walking horses, antique cars and lovely surroundings, no one’s life is ever all perfection.

Bonnie's 2018 tree

Bonnie’s 2018 Christmas Tree at the Guernsey County Visitors Bureau.

   This gracious lady always makes people feel special wherever they happen to meet her. Her advice for an enjoyable life would be, “Look for the good things in life. Find something happy about every day.”

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