Combermere – On Feb. 8, the earthly life of one of Combermere’s greatest storytellers came to an end. However, there is still much to be said about this man and his contributions to local culture. When we think of culture, sometimes we assume that it is preserved in the official works and institutions of a society. Museums, libraries and galleries all house cultural works, but these artifacts are only part of the story. For culture to remain alive it must be lived and the stories of the people who embrace that culture must be heard and told.
In his 93 years, Hubert Perrier heard and told a lot of stories. A few of them were even true. He collected information on people by observing life as it passed by his front porch and gathered details from the visitors who joined him in conversation there. Like most great storytellers, Perrier had a mind that was a steel trap and a mouth that worked overtime whenever there was some close by willing to listen to his latest tale.
There were a lot of people who willingly listened to Perrier’s stories, in large part because those stories were personal and were about real people known and loved by his listeners. In a phone interview with Perrier’s stepdaughter Cindy Guyatt, she explained that one of the secrets to his ability to capture the attention of his audience had to do with the way he personalized each story for his listener. She explained that when he was in the hospital, he would ask the staff what their last names were and who their relatives were. With this information in mind, he would pull out a story especially relevant to that person; from his vast collection of tales, housed in his mental vault of stories, he was never at a loss for words even in his final days. People loved his stories because they were about them.
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