Recap for “My Brush with Death” Show

August 13, 2014 
by Elise Stangle & Marci White

The theme for August’s Rabbit Box was “My Brush with Death.” This subject inspired so many people that it set a record for how quickly we filled the lineup of storytellers.  The MC for the evening was the delightful Mary Whitehead.

 Scott Shamp (who also told a story last spring for “Out on a Limb”) recalled a conversation with his mother’s doctors about a “do not resuscitate” order. His mother was extremely ill and wasting away from a mysterious illness. Scott’s mother, who is known for providing memorable life lessons, provided the most potent lesson of all through her close “brush with death.”


Hollis Rosson
 was next and told a “what else could possibly go wrong?” story about a dangerous, late night allergic reaction that included a blackout, a vet who faints at the sight of human blood, and kin who are there when it really matters.  She also gave us a new reason to fear tick bites. 

Shawn Shubert then told a story about a much needed vacation in a luxury cabin on a mountain top by a lake. Unfortunately her peaceful break ended up becoming a nightmare of creepiness.  She realized that what you’re trying to get away from can follow you on vacation.

The next story was told by Rabbit Box veteran Matthew Epperson, who took us through some dramatic close calls with Type One Diabetes, from childhood to present day.  He shared how he has learned to live with it, taking step after step to ever greater independence with the support of his family and friends. 

The crackerjack storyteller, whose name was chosen randomly out of the Rabbit Box, was Daniel Joseph. Daniel shared the story of a 21st birthday, drug-fueled, cross-country road trip that included one too many hitchhikers. As he put it, “things got weird”.  The “smell of death” was in his car and help was elusive. 

The next story, told by Amy Moss, was an emotional and nail-biting tale of standing up for a friend when the friend’s abusive ex-husband turned up unexpectedly. When Amy tried to protect her friend, Amy became a target as well.  

Kirkby Amick lightened the mood (somewhat) with a story about two close “brushes with death” involving car crashes, explaining how each one may have been an encounter with the devil, but also set him on the path to a new career and living in Athens. 

Paul Guillebeau told a story of a childhood car trip (in the days before seat belts were required) with his brothers that ended with them all in the hospital. His main concern upon waking in the hospital was that his mother would be angry because he had lost his new expensive glasses before the wreck even happened.  After doctors decide to transfer him to a hospital closer to his hometown, the story takes a hilarious turn with an ambulance ride gone awry. 

Lisa Smartt finished off the evening with a tale of how she ended up studying the final words spoken by the dying. She told about her father’s behavior as he got ready for “the big event.”  She also shared stories of other people’s final days, explaining how there are gestures and words that are proving to be quite common, suggesting striking similarities between people’s experiences of death.