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Jacob Hatcher

We each have stories worth telling  

By Jacob Hatcher  

Community columnist 

His name was Robert Floyd. He probably had strawberry-blond hair, if his niece and nephews are any indication, and I have no doubt he would have spoken with a drawl as slow as a hound dog moving out of the shade on a July day – because every Floyd I ever met did. He might have gone on to be a blacksmith like his daddy.  

Of course, the world will never know these things about Robert Floyd because eight days after his first birthday, Robert Floyd left this world. 

As far as we can tell, there is no official record of my great-grandmother’s brother; there’s no birth certificate or obituary. All that remains of him is a tombstone in the shadow of an old chimney in the woods – a chimney that once warmed a family, held up by a cabin that’s nothing more than a pile of tin smothered in underbrush now. 

Before long, every person with direct, even second-hand, knowledge of Robert will be gone. Soon enough, the land he is buried in will be out of the family.  

Maybe one day a hunter will wander by and see his grave; perhaps a developer will have to call the state to figure out what they’re supposed to do with a grave before proceeding with their subdivision. 

They’ll never know about his mother having him buried where she could see him from the porch, or about the eight siblings who lived their lives without him.  

That’s why stories are so important. Without stories, Robert is just a tombstone in the woods – just a curiosity on the side of a country road. 

Without our stories, we’re just names on a document, if we make even that much of a blip on the radar. This is why I will always be a storyteller and why I’ll always love to hear other people’s stories – not just because a good story is entertaining but because our story makes us human.  

Story is what makes household names out of ancient characters, and no matter how small, we’ve each got a story worth telling. 

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