Monday, August 29, 2011

Tio Pedro Rides Again

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!


  1. Cute story, Shelly! Tio Pedro's need for speed reminded me of the summer of '69 when I worked for a contractor. One of our job sites was located 20 miles away and a bunch of us rode there each day on the back of a souped up Chevy El Camino owned by one of the workers. It seemed like fun when we were doing it but, looking back, it was extremely dangerous. The vehicle was overloaded, the guy drove like a bat, laying rubber every chance he got, and those of us riding on the back had to hang on for dear life.

    You and I know the importance of diet and exercise. My greatest fear isn't losing my physical capabilities. It's losing my mental faculties. From what I've learned the two go hand in hand so I'm hoping to stay sharp and focused as long as possible. It makes me sad when aging parents no longer recognize their own children but it's a common outcome.

    Thanks for another interesting story, Shelly!

  2. Oh, Shady- boys and their need for speed! So glad you made it through in one piece. I think our guardian angels must work overtime when we are young and haven't much common sense yet.

    And yes, I totally agree with you about being proactive with nutrition. We have started that very thing ourselves. I want my mind and my body to go at the same time, not one before the other. Thanks for stopping by, good friend!

  3. That is so funny!! You can take the boy away from his speed, but can't take the speed out of the boy!!

    Glad to hear he's got happy times--giving the nurses a hard time I'm sure!

  4. Jamie Jo: Yes, I do think he gives the nurses a workout- those boys never lose their taste for speed!

  5. I love that he still has the desire to go fast and can prove it. Amazing, just like my Aunt Katie who will be 103 in Sept. and still does yard work like trimming bushes.

  6. Odie: Your Aunt Kate is truly amazing. There has to be good genetics involved, but I think with someone like her, attitude plays a big part. She must be such a neat person!

  7. Uncle Pedro sounds like a man so full of life he can't contain it! That was so funny about the horse your mother-in-law rode.

  8. Belle: That he is- we only hope the nursing home will want to keep him! And yes, my poor mother in law- I don't know that she's ever gotten on a horse again.

  9. Shelly...what a delightful piece of history you have shared. Your storytelling skills bring everything to life and draw your reader immediately into the tale! It is heartwarming to know Tio Pedro is still able to have joy in his life!


  10. Love your story about this colorful family character, Shelly! How great that he may have lost his independence at 103, but not his love of speed and his enjoyment of life!

  11. Sush: I think that's the key- being able to find joy in life, no matter what state we're in. Thank you for you sweet words!

    Dr. Kathy: Thank you! I agree- I think there's enjoyment we can find, no matter what our circumstances are, if we just look-

  12. Every one needs some one like Uncle Pedro in their family.
    Boys will be boys no matter how old they get. Speed and danger and chance is like the air they breath. Thanks for sharing a part of your family history. Hi, this is Munir over here at Focus.

  13. THAT was an awesome story. My grandmother was like that. She never lost her spunk.

  14. I just love Tio Pedro's zest for life! I used to ride crazy horses like that in Mexico. Thrilling! You never know WHERE you'll end up!

  15. Munir: Those relatives certainly keep life interesting! So good to hear from you!

    Karen: I want to be like that- old maybe, gray, perhaps, but still full of spunk!

    Crystal: To me, that is complete freedom- jumping on a horse, riding till you're both tired, and then seeing where you'll end up!


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