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Tell Me a Story - An Introduction

Jessica Rolph | July 14, 2019


ell me a story. How many bedtime routines include this phrase? Children love stories. And while reading a storybook is a fine way to pass the time, my daughter prefers for somebody to spin a tale out of the air, pulled from nothing more than memory or imagination. Usually we wind up in a magical forest, with fairies and unicorns, or kittens that talk and porcupines that howl at the moon. But sometimes she wants a story that has been passed down across the generations, embellished here and there by the storytellers. The stories that we tell at family reunions, or share around the dinner table during the holidays – these are her favorites.

We’re brought together by stories. I imagine that years ago, before televisions, smart phones, and movie theatres, you would find groups of people gathered in one place, telling stories. And if you’re lucky, you learn just as much about the storyteller as you do about the story itself.

I’ve always loved stories. I’ve spent hours listening to storytellers, over the radio and in my own backyard. And I’ve spent many more hours telling stories of my own, thanks again to my two little girls. Children are a blessing in so many ways, and I think one that is overlooked is how they force you to be creative – to see the world from their point of view.

As we move into summer, I’m reminded of all the campfires I sat around as a small child. The grown-ups would talk about their jobs and upcoming plans for a while, but then things would get quiet and somebody would say…”Do you remember when…?” Those were some of my favorite words. I was shy and quiet as a child, but I loved to listen.

During those campfires, my dad liked to talk about a trip he took with my cousin Gus. My dad was in his 20s and Gus had just started to drive. They decided they’d like to see Canada, and headed up through Quebec and New Brunswick. In New Brunswick, they visited the Bay of Fundy. They walked out along the Hopewell Rocks, farther than they intended. High tide crept in, and they only escaped an ocean swim by climbing through a cave to the stairwell leading back up to dry land. In Nova Scotia, they were hiking. As they turned a corner on the trail, they came face to face with a moose. Thankfully, the moose was not as surprised as they were, and walked off in the other direction while they tried to catch their breath. At the campground at sundown, a man would come out in his kilt and play the bagpipes. My dad would make those memories come alive right there around the campfire, and suddenly, I could see him through these stories. My dad, who read me Watership Down and The Hobbit at bedtime, was also Mike, a young man who loved adventure and the great outdoor, and he had stories of his own. This is the magic of storytelling.

Yes, I’ve always loved stories. I’m grateful that I’ve found a career that gives me the opportunity to listen to, share, and create stories. I’m the marketing director at First Farmers Bank & Trust, and while we offer checking accounts, mortgages, ag and commercial loans, along with many other services, I like to think of the bank a little bit differently. I like to think we help make stories happen. Thanks for spending some time with me today - I’ll be back next week with another story. Until then, from First Farmers Bank & Trust, I’m Jess, and I’m listening.