Since we were in high school, my husband has regaled me with stories of his family, particularly his colorful assortment of uncles. One uncle, Tio Pedro, stole most of the spotlight in the storytelling.
Tio Pedro loved things fast, his horses, his cars; anything with four legs or four wheels. His relentless passion was to go faster than anyone else and to be at the front of the pack.
My husband still recalls the pride mixed with fear he felt when he was deemed old enough to go with Tio Pedro and some other cousins to round up cows. This meant riding in the back of a pickup with Tio Pedro driving as if his tailgate was on fire. There was nothing to hang onto in the back of the truck and it had to be ridden much like a rodeo bull, with flawless instincts and superb balance. Being hurtled around at 90 miles an hour through unimproved pastures with rocks, small hills, bumps, and holes will get your prayer life going.
Tio Pedro could break any horse, anytime, anywhere. He didn't concern himself with gentling them and teaching them gaits like walking, trotting, or loping. A full out gallop was his preferred speed, and that was the trademark of his horses. My mother in law still recalls unwittingly getting on a Tio Pedro trained horse and nearly ending up in the next county before she could get off safely.
Now, Tio Pedro is 103 years old and a resident in a nursing home. His body is amazingly intact and responsive, but his mind...well, not so much anymore.
While visiting the town where he lives, we made a trip to the nursing home to visit him and another relative there, although Tio Pedro doesn't even recognize his own sons anymore. We spent time with the other relative first, her door open to the hallway.
As we chatted, other nursing home residents moved up and down the hall, some even stopping in to say hello. A small commotion in the hall seemed to be gaining steam near us, and we peered out the door. A little man, pumping the wheels of his wheelchair so rapidly we couldn't see his face, flew by with a couple of chubby, wheezing nurses in pursuit. My husband raised his eyebrows at me, and we heard a nurse calling out in Spanish, "Pedro, Pedro, come back! Stop, Pedro!"
By now, he had turned back around and was headed in the opposite direction. As he passed the room the second time, he was going even faster, but we could see the huge grin on his face.
Tio Pedro rides again!