And Melissa's friend, and also with Richard Halliburton. I feel like I just travelled the whole globe in one post.
There's also a good reminder in it to shut up sometimes and let people have room to get their thoughts out. Sometimes you learn the most surprising things.
One summer during university I worked at a camp for mentally handicapped people. Some of the maintenance crew were former campers/guests. These guys--and a couple of ladies--used to sit around in the dining hall in the evening, drinking coffee and swapping stories. They were way more fun to hang out with and listen to than the mostly-teenage counsellors. One night they were reminiscing about the summer before, and discussing one of the directors.
"That guy ate so much peanut butter," one of them said, "that we started calling him Skippy." I'm still laughing about that years later. (Obviously before the days of nut-free zones, though...)
There was the usually-untalkative older man who came to life one day when I brought in some vintage band records (like The Darktown Strutters' Ball) and played them during craft time. He started telling us about how his brother was sort of a disc jockey years and years ago, and how he used to go with him to help him play records at dances. I kept trying to imagine this guy--much younger--riding around in a Hupmobile or something like that!
Then there was the awful day that several of the counsellors were fired after some weekend carousing. That night we were supposed to have a "talent show" in the dining hall, which usually meant that the counsellors would put something together for their cabin members to lip-synch or air-guitar to. Being so short-staffed, we expected that the show would get scuttled; but the guests had the final laugh, because several of them went ahead and took turns at the microphone, doing absolutely their own thing for each other and having the most wonderful time. It beat the canned stuff all hollow.
The ironic part was that I think most of the counsellors missed it--they were sitting outside moping for their friends.
But those who listened--learned something.