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Beth Horner tells a story at Homewood Stories in 
December. Horner will return to perform in the 
Sept. 15 show at Grady’s Grille.
(Photo by 
Eric Crump/HF Chronicle)

[Editor’s Note: Host Karen O’Donnell announced Tuesday, Sept. 8, that the room is full and no additional reservations can be accepted for the Sept. 15 show.] 

Master storytellers are spellbinding. 

There. I’ve stated the obvious. 

Even though that’s common knowledge, it is still sometimes surprising to be caught in the almost magical moments they create. 

I got caught in just such a spell in December, the last time Beth Horner appeared at Homewood Stories.

She told a delightful story about her mother, the legendary scholar Win Horner, a linguistics professor at the University of Missouri and founder of the Writing  Across the Curriculm program there. I was a graduate student at MU in the early 1990s near the end of Dr. Horner’s career, so I knew of her even though I didn’t take classes with her.

I hadn’t crossed paths with Beth until she came to Homewood.

Maybe because I was familiar with and in some awe of her mother, I was particularly taken with the story, an account of a family always scrambling to keep up with the thought processes of a brilliant woman. 

Still, I wasn’t prepared for a moment when Beth described a scene in a hospital where her mother was having tests run. She was in the room during an ultrasound (I think it was) of her mother’s heart. She described watching the monitor that showed her mother’s heart beating. Then she paused in the telling, marveling for a moment at each beat of that heart, at the life that heart had propelled. 

In that pause, guided by the look of wonder on the storyteller’s face, I think everyone in the room paused, too, held their breath, and were transported to that slice of the past. We found ourselves in a room none of us had ever seen watching the heartbeat of a woman few of us had ever met. In wonder.

When the moment passed, Beth soon had the audience laughing with her again as she concluded her tribute to her mother. 

It takes a spellbinder to take us traveling like that and bring us home again, safely and  gracefully.

Local storytelling fans will have a chance to see Beth perform Tuesday, Sept. 15, as she returns to Homewood Stories. 

The show will also feature host and show founder Karen O’Donnell, plus Allen M. Green, Mike Speller, Stephanie Kush and Suzy Lebowitz Dritz.

The show will start at 7:30 p.m. in the meeting room at Grady’s Grille, 18147 Harwood Ave., in Homewood. The room opens at 6 p.m. Reserve a seat by contacting O’Donnell at [email protected].

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