This I Believe

Sue - Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Entered on March 8, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: parenthood

I believe you are a very blessed person if you have someone in your life

who can truly inspire you, give you unconditional love, someone you admire so

enormously that tears well up in your eyes at the thought of them.

Ruby is that person for me.

She was born in the late 1890’s in Kentucky. When the flu of 1918 hit, her

Daughter, Velada, was 2 weeks old. Frank, her young husband, was one of the

unfortunate ones to catch the flu and die. Folks in Kentucky still tell me

how Miss Ruby helped nurse one of their loved ones after the loss of her husband, while she kept a farm going and cared for her new baby girl.

Ruby had only a 7th grade education, but she opened a millinery store, took

in laundry and ran a farm. In all the years I knew Ruby, I never saw her

get angry or say a bad word about anyone. Well, maybe that’s not totally

true. Occasionally I’d hear her say, “I’m so hot that I’ve got to tighten

up my shoelaces so I don’t go straight up.”

Groceries were scarce and there wasn’t enough food but she could always

scrape up a potato to fry, make fresh snow ice cream or magically find some

dried apples for a tiny pie. Of course she was always full and couldn’t

eat another bite. She could make me believe that my hand me downs or

thrift store dresses were one of a kind, unlike dresses that were all

the same off the store’s rack.

She gave me skills I would need through life. Ruby told me the

stories of the Bible and taught me to be grateful and to say my prayers daily. She

taught me to be self-sufficient. I still feel the urge to dig up dirt

under a rotting log to take back to my undernourished garden. Ruby told me her beauty

secrets that I still use today: “Whatever you do to your face, do to your

neck too, she said. Sharing makes you joyful; feed the birds in winter.”

.And, whether I got too cocky or things were getting me down, her answer was the

same: , “Remember your roots and where you came from.”

Ruby was there to make my doll clothes from scraps, to tell me I was the

smartest, the prettiest, and that I was capable of anything I would ever

want to do in life. I believe it takes only one Ruby in a child’s life to

make her believe in herself. This is what I believe.