My father is the youngest of three children. Since he and his siblings live in separate states, they all promised that on July 4 of every year they’d pick a destination for all us to meet at. It would be a vacation spot where everyone’s “new” family could have fun. On this particular trip we decided to bring my great-aunt Rudy. Rudy is an elderly lady who always seemed like she was lost. She also had a tendency to chew and spit tobacco. I didn’t think we’d have any fun at all.
Since we were going to be with Rudy we decided to go down to Morton to “enjoy the country”. I didn’t really mind since I loved to ride horses and go fishing. The entire trip I continuously asked why we had to pick up that “old lady”. It just didn’t make sense to me. I had only met Rudy twice and on the first time I got a spanking. The second time she ridiculed me for the bad grades I was making in middle school. Since I was just starting to get back on the right track with my grades, I knew she’d be lecturing me. My father assured me that Rudy was wise and that I should mind her.
Once we pulled in the driveway we called her house phone. No answer. After a while my father ran into the home worried. After a hours of dealing with ambulances, EMT’s and being at the hospital we learned that Rudy had a stroke. I was so angry at her. I couldn’t believe this woman had ruined my trip. As I was sitting in the hall my father handed me a book filled with poetry. He told me to read it and that I should re-evaluate my feelings about Rudy. She had a poem by Rudy Kipling tagged with a sticky note. It was called “If.” It really touched me. It basically talked about how I should keep rising above adversity and how it was important to continue to make steps toward becoming a man. For the first time in my life I really wanted to speak to Rudy. I read the poem over and over until I committed it to memory. I was so grateful that she cared enough about me to give me this book and for what she wrote in the cover.
“Fred, in this world you are going to have hard times. It’s just a fact of life. I know your parents are going to be very proud of you one day. I also want you to remember to not let people get you down Dennis P. Kimbro said, ‘Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.’ So whether it’s me, your parents or one of your friends don’t let it get you down. I hope you always remember this trip.”
I wanted to speak go Rudy so bad. Her doctors informed us that she wasn’t currently able to speak. Rudy soon died. On this trip I learned about how I should appreciate people more. The only thing I regret is it took me so long to realize the type of person I could have had in my life. Although I didn’t get to ride the horses and go fishing like I wanted, I knew I had really learned a life lesson. Don’t take life for granted. I made a promised to Rudy and myself that this year my education would be my priority and that I would get into college. I have not given up.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.