Cable TV Program Features Local Stories

Ridgeway’s Virginia Miles (left) sits down with Todd Hansen, host of BYU-TV’s “The Story Trek.”

Blythewood’s Jackie Graham with Hansen, talking about what it means to be a good mother.

BLYTHEWOOD/RIDGEWAY – Their stories are not the stuff of legend. Their tales are not tall. But their real, true-life accounts of their own personal struggles and triumphs reach a zenith of inspiration that stir the human spirit. These stories come from your friends and neighbors, right here in your own back yard; and Monday night, BYU-TV will share them with the world.

“When they knocked on my front door, I thought they were going to rob me,” said 71-year-old Virginia Miles of Ridgeway of the afternoon last August when Todd Hansen and his camera crew from The Story Trek showed up at her home on Dogwood Avenue. “You know how people try to do things to old people. I didn’t know if I should trust them or not. Then I thought they were going to hand me a check and flowers.”

Hansen, who has been taking his television crews into people’s homes for the last three years, said that reaction is typical. Many expect Hansen’s crew to be the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize patrol.

“They’re a little disappointed when they find out we’re not,” he said.

Instead of handing out prize money, Hansen and his crew are instead looking for real-life stories from real-life people. Each week, BYU-TV airs those stories on its Emmy winning program, The Story Trek. Monday night at 8, The Story Trek will feature the life stories of Miles and Blythewood’s Jackie Graham. Hansen said he found their narratives particularly moving.

“If I had to sum up their stories in one sentence, I would say they are about a mother’s love,” Hansen said. “If I am ever asked to run a special Mother’s Day episode, this is the one I would suggest.”

A mother’s love, Hansen added, in the face of great tragedy. Miles had lost a child when she was 29. Graham when she was 26. Miles lost James Richard Mattox Jr., her 10-year-old son, to a rare blood disease and Graham lost her child in a premature birth because of an ectopic (tubular) pregnancy.

“It’s like it was yesterday,” Miles said, recalling what she said she described to Hansen as the most significant event of her life. “I have a big picture of him over my bed and I still write letters to him every night in my journal, telling him how much I miss him.”

Miles said she found solace in a circle of friends who had also lost children, and the tragedy eventually strengthened her.

“When you lose a child, you can survive anything after that,” Miles said.

But what really transformed Miles’ life, and the life of her daughters Rebecca (now 47) and Judy (53), from “coping” to “moving on” was the birth of her next child, Allen.

“Having Allen made us want to live again,” Miles said.

Graham’s story, Hansen said, brushes against the supernatural.

“She had this amazing dream before her daughter was born about a girl with reddish-brown hair and blue eyes,” Hansen recalled of his sit-down with Graham. “That’s the daughter she wanted, and when she was born that’s the daughter she had!”

Graham, 33, said that, following her ectopic pregnancy back in 2006, her doctors told her she could never become pregnant again. But three years ago, they were proven wrong. And before little Kristi Mobley was even conceived, her coming was heralded by Graham’s precognitive dream. Prior to Kristi’s birth, Graham and her fiancé – Kristi’s father, Chris Mobley, 33 – were debating how the newborn’s name should be spelled, Hansen recalled. Once again, otherworldly powers appeared to be at work.

“We got a piece of junk mail one day,” Graham explained. “And it was addressed to ‘Kristi Mobley’.”

Junk mail. Addressed to a yet to be born, yet to be properly named member of the family.

“That was the name we had planned for her,” Graham said, “but how did they know?”

Apart from the unusual events surrounding Kristi’s birth, Graham said the crux of her story was about being a good mother.

“I learned it from my mother,” Graham said. “I learned right from wrong, to be respectful of other people and how to raise my baby.”

“Everything she does is for her little girl,” Hansen said. “I asked her how she became a great mother, and she said she learned it from her mother. When she described to me what made her mother great, I told her she was describing her relationship with Kristi.”

BYU-TV can be found by Dish users on channel 9043; DirectTV 374 and Time Warner 274.

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