A Lifetime Story in a Single Night

Dear Reader:

You might remember, several years ago,  I started a personal contest with Scheherazade to tell one more story than her famous 1001 Arabian Nights… through blog posting…to write a post each day for 1002 days beating her 1001 nights of tales. I did it….and suddenly an apparent observation was made… I was still breathing… so I  decided that very day to just keep on ‘keeping on’ writing.

But what if the challenge was to tell your life story…in a single night?

I came across this novel quite by accident but when I saw it had been endorsed by Louise Penny (my favorite mystery writer) I was immediately fascinated. Penny wrote on the top cover of the novel:

Beautiful. Intimate. Aching and lyrical. So simply and beautifully told.” 

The whole concept of choosing five people,whose lives most affected you in your own lifetime, and then re-telling each story in a single night… in a bar through five toasts… is a quick lure.

Goodreads gives this synopsis:

“If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, “When all is said and done?”

This is the story of Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel. With each he toasts a person vital to him: his doomed older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son far off in America, and his late, lamented wife. And through these people, the ones who left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.

Beautifully written, powerfully felt, When All Is Said promises to be the next great Irish novel.”

My book just arrived Friday afternoon so I will take it to Mandy and John’s house next week to read…I will be helping Mandy out with the children while John is at a meeting in Orlando. I can hardly wait to start.

Books like these always make me stop and think…If I chose five people who had the most influence on my life…who would they be?” Definitely food for thought. Most importantly…if we made a toast to them…what would we say? And then what could we learn about ourselves, “When all is said?”

The inside cover gives us this enticing bit of intrigue…”At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits eighty-four-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual-though tonight is any thing but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

So until tomorrow…What about us? Are we ready to tell our story…the story of a lifetime…our lifetime? And if not now…when?

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Luke and Chelsey’s little nephew, Ryker, came for a visit yesterday and he was put to work helping Luke and Chelsey dig a hole for my redbud tree. He was so proud…I gave him a toy and he showed me all the work he had done…I am sure the Redbud will bloom and live forever with little Ryker’s assistance.


Way to go Ryker!!! You are taking after your Uncle Luke…always helping people!





I left yesterday and met Brooke and Libby in Walterboro and then we all went to Beaufort for a wonderful luncheon at Wren’s for Lacy…Brooke’s soon-to-be daughter-in-law. We had such fun!

Brooke & Lacy…her beautiful daughter-in-law! Such a fun crowd…we had a ball! Beaufort and family outdid themselves!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to A Lifetime Story in a Single Night

  1. bcparkison says:

    Good to get the redbud in the ground and off to a great start. Ryker did well.
    The book sounds interesting. Is it based on real life or imagined life?
    You have more good times. Goodness you are busy having fun.


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