Ode to Stories, and the Comfort They Bring

by Mary O. Fumento
December 2009

“Now, I believe it is the easiest thing in the world to tell a story – and the hardest thing to be a fine storyteller.” – Ruth Sawyer

For this lovely holiday season, I would like to tell a story.

Storytelling ranges from simply relating of day-to-day events to a friend to reciting of ancient tales, singing songs, and writing stories, plays and poems. Regardless of the vehicle used, the purpose of stories is to somehow touch our deepest beliefs and emotions.

The knack of storytelling is creating the personal story to which people can relate and finding plausible people hidden amid the literary construction.  We care about stories, however they are told, because something very specific vocalizes inside of us.  It is less what we read or hear than what we discover through the story.  We recognize something, and we grasp it tightly.

I write poetry, and I enjoy crafting stories in this way. It has been more than a quarter of a century since I started writing poetry. I have written many poems during these years, but there is one particularly suited for this time of year. The poem tells of tragedy but it is more about individual and universal strength than about sadness.  It is about courage and the will and need to move forward despite hardship.

My great-grandmother, Anna Ramsay, disappeared on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1916. She left her house to go shopping and never returned to her husband and three young daughters. Her body was found a month later.

I knew her daughters well, and I often wondered what thoughts they had the night their mother vanished.  First, there was the hopeful anticipation on Christmas Eve, and then painful disappointment and lifelong sadness.  Despite the loss, the daughters were courageous and strong throughout their lives.  I admired these qualities, and they gave me the inspiration to write the poem below. Their story is worth retelling.

Winter 1916
(To the memory of Anna Ramsay)

Embraced in a shroud of white
A mystery imbedded in ice
Away that day you went
Never looking back
Never coming back
And three silently stayed behind
Waiting and wondering
Why you would go away
As if you didn't know
As if you didn't care
Until the years left you behind
As you one frigid day left them
A memory, a time, a place
Just frozen far away
And the three who wondered
They wait no more
For reasons, for answers, for you
Lost forever in the snow

Stories speak to us through the years and are utterly timeless; they exist to comfort and teach us. We find, through them, what we need when we need it.  I believe that is our draw to this magnificent art that accompanies us through life, recording our acts and thoughts.

Attention: Job Seekers

Back to business, on Monday, Jan. 4th from 12:30-4 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 7th from 5-9 p.m. the U.S. Census Bureau will be testing potential employees in the Worland library conference room.

The Census Bureau offers temporary jobs, both part-time and full-time, so if you know any job seekers, please encourage them to attend.

Brochures and sample tests are available at the Worland library.  To reserve a seat for the test, please call 1-866-861-2010. 

Return to main page.

View Mary Oliver Fumento's profile on LinkedIn