One Of The Greatest Gifts: Taking Time To Share Stories


Gift giving can be exciting, it can be frustrating and sometimes it can be rewarding.

One of the greatest gifts we can give and receive is the gift of time, especially time with our older relatives and neighbors.

This week, reporter Max Foster spent some time with a Pearl Harbor survivor, 85-year-old R.J. Williams. When he came back to the office after seeing Williams he remarked it was one of the most rewarding and difficult interviews he has ever done. Rewarding for the opportunity to meet a man who saw the world change. Difficult because of how much Williams reminded him of his own late father.

Foster was also on hand when the Payson High School basketball team paid tribute to two other Rim residents who survived the Dec. 7 attack, Bo Bochansky and Paul Townsend.

This edition of the Roundup features Williams' story. The tales of Pearl Harbor from Bochansky and Townsend appeared in the paper in earlier years.

In this edition and others, special note has been made of people celebrating 90th and 100th birthdays.

A year ago this week, my own grandfather died. He was in his early 90s and the last of my grandparents. I was fortunate to have had three of my grandparents live into their 90s. Growing up -- and as an adult -- I frequently pestered them to share their stories with me. Writing them down from the time I was 10 or so is in part what brought me into the newspaper business. I learned at an early age the treasure we have with us in the stories told by the people around us.

Sharing their stories is their gift to us, taking the time to ask for and listen to their stories is our gift to them.

This holiday season, however you might celebrate it, if you have the opportunity, ask your older family members and friends to tell you stories. Have them talk about the celebrations they have had in their lives, their adventures, the times they have laughed so hard they cried, even the times when they were really frightened. If it would help them, bring out pictures and have them share what they know about the people in the photographs. Record what they say, either electronically or by hand, and perhaps have someone take pictures during your visit. You will be creating a memory while sharing one and enjoying one of our greatest gifts.

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