Friday, September 23, 2011

I Saw A Story Last Night

I saw a story last night. Yes, that's right. I didn't see a movie, I saw a story.

I've been on a committee to plan and raise funds for a flag plaza for my town's Partner City in the Czech Republic. Last night, all the planning and hard work a dedicated group had done came to fruition. We had a dedication ceremony at the plaza in the city park followed by a reception in a large indoor pavilion in the city park. It would link Manhattan, Kansas and Dobrichovice in the Czech Republic forever.

A five piece band from the Czech Republic had traveled across the Atlantic to be here for the frestivitiies along with a former mayor of our Partner City, his wife and two university students. The band played throughout the reception while people ate Czech foods, drank Czech beer, and American coffee and tea, and visited the display tables we'd set up. Several people on the committee have been to Prague and other parts of the Czech Republic. They brought a variety of items from their travels which we set out for people to enjoy.

I happened to be at one of the tables partway through the evening, and that's when I saw a story. A small, older woman was bent over a book. She studied a two page photo of Prague, and her finger traced the buildings. A younger woman leaned close. I took them to be mother and daughter. The younger one said, "She is from there."

I watched as the older woman slowly and carefully traced the many buildings in the photo, and I heard her whisper, "Yes, it is here." The corners of her eyes gleamed with a few tears, as she continued to gaze at the picture. Then, she straightened up and smiled at me. "Thank you," she said so softly I had to lean close to hear her.

The two women went back to watch a few people doiong the polka to the lively music the band played.

I wished I might spend time with the woman to learn her story, for I felt sure she had one to tell. But it appeared she kept her story locked deep inside. Perhaps even the younger woman had never heard her full story. Had she been there during WWII, I wondered. Did she witness the Russian takeover after the war? Had she fled then? Or had she come to America even earlier than that?

I'll never know her story, but I do know that the picture in the book brought many memories back for her. I had the feeling that some were good and others were not. Yes, I saw a story last night. I only wish I knew what it was.


  1. Nancy, I love your (un)discovered story, reminds me of a story I once saw from a bus window in Paris. Young man, young woman. Face to face, talking on the sidewalk, pedestrians steaming past them. She carries a red mesh bag of oranges, he has a yard-long loaf of French bread. The image is almost sexual, but as he holds the loaf of bread, she is nibbling at the upper end. Peg N.

  2. I liked the story that you saw, Peg. When we see them, they seem to stay with you forever. Makes me laugh when writers say they can't find anything to write about. There are sooooo many stories out there, you just have to open your eyes!