Karl Behling is either in disguise as a teacher who then becomes a storytellin’ Mountain Man or a storytellin’ teacher who then becomes a Mountain Man. Either way, he brings such delight with the Mountain Man Petting Zoo. There are no live animals at a Mountain Man Petting Zoo. The pelts are spread out and it’s the safest way to pet a coyote or fox. Though, as Sam Payne joked, there is still a “live” Mountain Man. Karl is as “live” as they come. We asked if Karl could do this Mountain Man Petting Zoo as part of our first year of offering hands-on story activities with the 3rd Annual Story Crossroads Festival on May 23, 2018. He said yes. All went well…and then Mother Nature hit.
The night before the Festival, it had poured and pounded with rain. We thought a back-up plan would be needed as the daytime part is held at the Murray City Park. Thankfully, we did not need to use that plan. The morning of May 23rd, the ominous dark-clouded sky transformed into robin-egg-blue sky with puffs of white. Karl Behling could set up his canopy and furs amongst the freshly watered green grass. The stream behind him bubbled more wildly and the butterflies returned from their shelters.
Students upon students met Karl and discovered some Mountain Man games. Some kids drew the Mountain Man Petting Zoo as one of their favorite experiences at the Festival. Sometimes as many as five kids were petting the same pelt. Karl introduced them to turtle poop…or what came out of his turtle shell bag that seemed to be jelly beans. Or was it? There is a piece highlighting Karl with the Apple Seed storytelling radio show archived here: https://www.byuradio.org/episode/f3322afb-07d0-408c-967a-db0480dfbb56/the-apple-seed-3rd-annual-story-crossroads.
When it was time to pack up at the Murray City Park, the sun still shone. There were hints of rain. Karl was one of the last to gather his things but not in time to save his canopy and whooshed back from a gush of wind. The canopy got bent and ripped. We did not learn of until a few weeks later. He said he wanted us to not worry and focus on the amazing time that everyone had as storytellers and story listeners.
No worries. Karl will have a canopy again. And canopy or no canopy, he is always ready to share stories. In fact, for the 2019 Story Crossroads Festival, he will share stories from a Mountain Man’s perspective of the different cultures that made the Transcontinental Railroad possible. The Golden Spike was hammered in on May 10, 1869. As our Festival lands on May 15, 2019, we wanted to celebrate along with much of the state of Utah. Karl will share these pieces on Wednesday night, May 15th at the South Jordan Community Center and then again at the Gale Center of History and Culture on May 28th.
Learn more about Karl Behling here: https://kbstoryteller.webs.com/
So toss, tip, or take off your cap to Karl Behling!
We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 4th Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 15, 2019.