Ted Kennedy's Celebration of Life memorial service had me doubled-over in laughter. And I mean that with great respect, as laughter was at the heart of the commemoration on Friday.
The highlight for me was Sen. Culver's recount of the twosome's boating adventure some 30 years ago. (If you didn't catch it, click here. It's definitely worth the 16 minutes.) Upon taking the stage, Culver – a heavy-set, gray-haired politico from Iowa – gently unfolds a memory of sailing with Teddy during a dangerous storm. Culver's demeanor seems nervous, solemn, a bit reticent. You don't expect much.
And then, it builds. A subtle comment here and there... the story picks up pace. His expressions become more and more animated. Kennedy-isms abound. Details and tangents add even more color to the mix. Waves crashing; Ted yelling; hatches flailing. You sense that Culver's really reliving the experience right there on stage. It's a lot of fun to watch. And it's touching.
It's worth the 16 minutes not just because you'll laugh, but because you'll take a journey. You'll follow these Lucy and Ethel-like characters through a topsy-turvy adventure, envisioning the chaos and hilarity of it all, wondering what they'll do next.
That's the power of a story.
I hope this isn't the first time Culver shared this story, and that the others who spoke at the service have told their stories before, too. Stories excite, inspire, engage, motivate, amuse, provoke, unite. They are meant to be shared. Often, and not just on special occasions.
Are you a storyteller? Please share. Here's one for you.