I don't recall many phone calls I've received, but this one I do. It was from my friend, Jim Jarding. I had just seen him in the hospital a couple of days earlier. The prognosis wasn't good. If he was lucky, he had two years to live.
He had only been home for a day or two when I received the call. "Rick, I've got a few things I want to say to my kids and grandkids. Can you help me?"
I'm often asked, "Why do people want to tell their stories?" Surprisingly, it's not about fame or even being remembered for all time (though families will). It's really about wanting to share memories and experiences and letting children and grandchildren for generations know what really mattered most to them. It's important to let others know despite difficulties they persevered and survived. It's about giving advice and passing on values. Almost everyone has something they want to say, but don't have anywhere to say it.
Years earlier, Jim had me to record interviews of his parents, aunts and uncles as a part of a legacy preservation project. Some who by this time have passed. Jim knew people died, but their words didn't have to.
We would spend a beautiful South Dakota morning on Jim's deck. Jim musing (he was good at that) and me listening (it goes with musing, like ying and yang).
Jim spoke seriously, but always with a little twinkle in his eye and wit in his words. He had some important things he wanted to share...his way.
Ultimately, the doctors were right. It was about two years when Jim passed, but not his words. Jim made sure of that.
StoryTelling America is a production of For Your Information. If you have a reason for preserving your stories contact us at: