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  • Writer's pictureJoyce Slater

Story of the Month: An Excerpt from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath

The migrant workers scuttling for work, scrabbling to live, looked always for pleasure dug for pleasure, manufactured pleasure, and they were hungry for amusement. Sometimes amusement lay in speech and they climbed up their lives with jokes. And it came about in the camps along the road, on the ditch banks, beside the streams, under the sycamores, that the storyteller grew into being, so that the people gathered in the low fire light to hear the gifted ones. And they listened while the tales were told, and their participation made the stories great.


I was a recruit for Geronimo---


And the people listened, and their quiet eyes reflected the dying fire.


Them Injuns was cute - slick as snakes, an quiet when they wanted, could go thru dried leaves and make no rustle, you try doin that sometime” and the people listened and remembered the crash of dry leaves under their feet.....


And the people listened, and their faces were quiet with listening. The storytellers, gathering attention into their tales, spoke in great rhythms, spoke in great words because the tales were great, and the listeners became great through them.


As we celebrate the holidays and are grateful for our blessings let us remember the migrants and the immigrants and those running from persecution. Be sure to share their tales and pray that they find a warm hearth to reflect in their eyes.

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