Rabbit Box: Sink or Swim
By Melissa Harward
In the cool breeze of Thursday night an eager audience spilled over the sand on the edge of Lake Chapman at Sandy Creek Park for Rabbit Box’s evening of stories around the theme of Sink or Swim. Alex White, our emcee of the evening, had asked the storytellers about their favorite body of water, an appropriate theme for the evening’s beautiful setting. As the sun dipped down, the Rabbit Box audience listened to stories of determination, independence, and survival.
In the first story of the night, life-long swimmer Craig Page explained that water is just like life: If you fight against it, it will most certainly fight back. After a long period in his life when he was just treading water, he found joy again in swimming.
Navigating the world’s most populous city alone at night with a language barrier and a dead phone can be daunting. Fortunately for Tara Stuart, life lessons usually reveal themselves only when you’re lost.
The night before her first triathlon, Sayge Medlin receives harrowing news about an old friend. This is a story of deep ties, regrets, and pushing forward.
A photograph Alan Black took in Abu Dhabi lands him in prison, where he is shackled, hooded, and at the mercy of strangers while people around the world worked for his release.
Our crackerjack storyteller of the evening was Blair White, who described her battle with depression. After an eye-opening incident with her neighbor, she learns we are never really alone with our struggles.
If you want to take a drive into the deep end, Ansley Hayes’ grandmother knows how to make it a party. Ansley regales us with a story of a trip to the beach with her family and her water-loving Nana.
Former mayoral candidate Tim Denson’s adventures in his hometown in south Florida usually involved jumping off things into water. Luckily he lived to tell the tale of a near-miss with an oncoming ship.
Aaron Joslin recalls a midnight swim in Costa Rica when he fought to save someone — and himself — as time slowed to a crawl.
Lizzie Payne echoes T.S. Elliot with her sentiment that April may be the cruelest month. When her battle with depression takes a turn for the worse, some ludicrous advice from a therapist opens up a new world of support.
Thank you to Mark Woods for the wonderful lighting set-up, to Kip Connor for the live sound and recording, and to the staff and volunteers at Sandy Creek Park for a perfect evening. Rabbit Box will continue into the summer with Mother Lode in May and Fatherland in June.
Rabbit Box’s “Game Day!”
By Melissa Harward
Game. Set. Story.
Last week, Rabbit Box fielded a strong team of storytellers who entertained the crowd with musings on “Game Day”: competition, family ties, celebrations, and more. (Good old fashioned hate was a play on the UGA/GT rivalry)
Mary Whitehead was our lovely emcee of the evening.
Our first storyteller, Paige Howell, admitted that she never did learn to speak Spanish well despite years of studying the language. Paige brought us a tale of a typical Ecuadorian fútbol game full of team spirit, good hamburgers, rowdy crowds — and tear gas.
Rabbit Box veteran Ivan Sumner criticized the militaristic brutality of American football. In watching his sons play the game, however, his view softened.
Community Connection Executive Director Fenwick Broyard explained how the sports he played as a young man have shaped his decision-making, his relationship with his father and his management style today.
Hunt Brumby’s important and beautiful considerations about legacy and mortality rang out in his story about attending a baseball game with his father.
Our crackerjack storyteller of the night was Claire Coenen, who reminded us that miracles can happen even at our most embarrassing moments.
Librarian Tanya Hudson’s fortitude in battling UGA game-day traffic and parking nightmares is an inspiration to us all. She fights traffic and some precarious stairs to save the day for a friend in need.
Stevie King spoke of the magical relationship between baseball and his son, Seaver (better known as #2), giving us the story of great sportsmanship and an unexpected win.
As you might imagine, UGA Chief of Police Jimmy Williamson has seen quite his share of game-day drunks and disasters. This particular story of a football fan turns out to be surprisingly dirty.
Football and alcohol go hand-in-hand, except when indulgence outweighs common sense. In the aftermath of a great game, be careful about your celebrations. You might just end up sleeping on a stranger’s porch, and if you’re lucky, you’ll land on the doormat of the kind and exceptionally patient Rachel Bailey.
Rabbit Box returns April 9th to Sandy Creek Park for stories on “Sink or Swim.”
Rabbit Box’s “Internet Connections: Hits and Misses in the World of Digital Dating”
By Melissa Harward
While the world of dating can be hard to navigate, when things go digital, you never quite know what you’re walking into.
Led by the ever-lovely Mary Whitehead, last week’s Rabbit Box’s “Internet Connections: Hits and Misses in the World of Digital Dating” featured stories of creeps, flops, and the realization that loving yourself should always come first.
The first rule of online dating? Meet in a public space. Second rule? Be careful who you give your number to. When one normal-seeming “Arnold” gets ahold of Gretchen Sneegas’ contact info, a slight rejection turns creepy.
Daniel “LadyKiller” Isaac Rodriguez-Granrose knows how to treat the ladies. When an allergy threatens to ruin a great first date, Daniel still manages to seal the deal. That is, until his sense of humor gets in the way.
In those slow, magical moments of getting to know someone new, you’re always looking for a spark. Unfortunately that spark dies out when librarian Tracy Sue Walker gets an unappreciated gift from a potential suitor.
On her first attempt at online dating, drama teacher Lorraine Thompson turns the tables on silly questionnaires, showing us all that the most important aspect of dating is knowing yourself.
Our crackerjack storyteller of the evening was Joe Willey, who learned that the bitterness of heartbreak can eventually be overcome. He knows how to butcher a chicken, drive a big rig, and can appreciate a good cup of coffee.
Rob White (also known as Antonio or Nick) tells a tale of young love, deceit, and moving on. When a cross-country trip to meet the online girl of his dreams falls to pieces, Rob learns to just be himself.
Ruta Abolins finds a seemingly perfect fit online but during a phone conversation becomes aware that compatibility is in the details. Some things are immediate deal-breakers, and that’s probably for the best.
Mel Cochran showed us that people aren’t always who they appear to be. (story not available online)
After an unexpected break-up with her fiancé, former D.C. resident Rachelle Ellis moves to Athens, bringing along with her an important life lesson: Don’t settle.
Stay tuned for even more Rabbit Box greatness coming next month with March 12th’s “Game Day.”
Our lineup for February is complete! Thank you brave storytellers!
But we’re still looking for storytellers for March, Game Day. Do you have a story about playing, watching, tailgating, working during a game day, or just dealing with game day chaos? It doesn’t have to be just about UGA or football either (hello March Madness). Let us know if you have a story idea, we’d love to hear it! Submit it through our website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rabbit Box: May I Help You, Stories from the Service Industry
by Melissa Harward
For someone who has lasted just one shift in the service industry, the patience of our storytellers of Thursday night’s Rabbit Box: May I Help You? Stories from the Service industry was quite impressive.
Alex White, our emcee of the evening, kicked things off with asking each of the storytellers for their best tip. Their answers ranged from reflections on the generosity of strangers to crucial life lessons, as our first storyteller, Ivan Sumner warned: “Watch out for women!”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, Rabbit Box veteran and road-side sign holding rock star Ivan learned that gratitude in the service industry can take many forms: blessings, beer, and even boobs. When he attempts to return the favor to a fellow sign-holder, Ivan discovers a new dynamic in the world of opposing genders.
A chance encounter with a Taco Mac patron leaves Francophile Emily Barkelew with a strange box. Thankfully, the contents of this box were a little more pleasant than Se7en’s finale. Where’s Brad Pitt when you need him?
The relationship between serviceman (or woman) and customer can sometimes run a fine line between normal interactions and inappropriate behavior. Exchanging pleasantries, requesting and providing, and familiarity all span the realm of a typical encounter. While working at Horton’s Drug Store in downtown Athens, Ophelia Culpepper found out first hand when that line is crossed.
Rabbit Box virgin Debbie From always remembers her servers’ names, and you should too. Find out why in her tale of kitchen floors, rude customers, and last straws. Seriously, start remembering names.
Our crackerjack storyteller of the night was Brittany Barnes, who let us all in on a secret of karma. Finding a giant wad of cash may look like a blessing, but giving it back to its owner may be better for your health.
A common theme of the night emerged as Rachel Eubanks took to the stage. As a server, you can sometimes feel invisible to those you are serving. Rachel knows this all too well, and her patience is tested to its limits one evening serving a catered event at Creature Comforts. Someone grab the broom and dustpan. It might get a little messy.
Christopher Becerra explains that “lifers,” veterans of the restaurant industry, are some of the raunchiest folks out there. As a new server trying to fit in at a new elite restaurant, Christopher takes the crude barter a little too far, right in front of Chef. Laughter ensues.
When a member of his restaurant family is treated poorly, a young Dr. Paul Guillebeau enacts sweet, sweet revenge on a particularly difficult customer known as “The Senator.” Now an entomology professor at the University of Georgia, we catch a glimpse of Dr. Guillebeau’s initial fascination with the world of creepy-crawlers.
Long hours, long drives, and long tables can wear on you, but it’s what many in the service industry face. Turn the tables over quickly. Shoot for a great tip. Smile. Hide your frustration. Repeat. After dealing with a particularly ungrateful group of regulars, Virginia Baumgartner gets the miracle everyone in the industry hopes for one day.
Rabbit Box will continue into 2015 on THURSDAYS! Too tired for Tinder lately? Be sure to join us in February for our next Rabbit Box, Internet Connections: Hits and Misses in the World of Digital Dating. I’m cringing just thinking about it.