If you’re of a certain age and/or generation (like I am) you will remember the great commentator Paul Harvey and his “Rest of the Story” segments of his radio program. Harvey died last month at the age of 90, after a long and respected career in radio.
The Rest of the Story was a Monday-through-Friday radio program. Beginning as a part of his newscasts back during the Second World War, it later premiered as its own series on the ABC Radio Networks in the 1970s. The Rest of the Story consisted of factual stories on a variety of subjects and people with a surprise or “twist” saved until the end. The broadcasts always concluded with the tag line “And now you know … the rest of the story.”
I find myself thinking about “the rest of the story” when someone I know dies, or a big change comes along. I think, “well, now I know the rest of the story.”
For example, a friend of many years passed away last month just after her 57th birthday. Though we hadn’t kept in touch very much in recent years, I still considered her a friend and I believe she considered me one as well. When I heard of her death, my mind immediately went back to the days when we were close – the things we did together, the places we went, the many kindnesses and acts of friendship she bestowed on me. I remember laughing over certain things and how we went to the theater to watch “Saturday Night Fever” not one, not two, but four times.
I thought about how her life had now ended, how I now knew “the rest of the story,” so to speak. Back in those early days of our friendship we could not have imagined how our lives would change, the difficulties we would face and how hers would end, nor how mine will end one day. We both had no idea.
Also last month, I saw the obituary of a classmate from school. The same age as me – I remembered how we use to chase each other on the playground in first grade. How I thought he was cute. And now, here was his obituary – another end, another rest of the story.
Of course I realize the monumental gaps in both these life stories – there are so many things I don’t, will never, know. But when one life touches another, no matter how briefly, I believe there’s a connection, an overlap, that makes our “stories” part of one another’s. No matter how insignificant, each person we interact with adds a new “twist” or a new element to a story we weave every day of our lives.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.