I met Ruben in the late 80's. We worked together but did not run around the same circles. I was hanging out with the beer drinking softball players. He was a bit older and fending off needling from the guys in another shop about his healthy eating habits and lifestyle. One day he asked me if I had a bicycle. I said yes, to which he responded, "well do you ride it or does it just sit in your garage?"
I told Ruben I hadn't been on my bike in a while but I was sure I could still ride. Ruben then invited me to ride with him. Coincidently, at about the same time my Brother was speaking to me about the long distance bike riding he was enjoying and how great an activity it was.
I took Ruben up on his offer. I started training. When I told my brother he gave me his C-itoh, a Japanese made bicycle he had paid 250.00 for in 1975. Thus began a great friendship with a man who along with my brother, reignited my joy of biking, running, and the outdoors.
Ruben and I rode our road and mountain bikes long distances all over the roads and trails of the Texas Hill country and the mountains of west Texas. We laughed, teased each other, shared nutrition and training information, were patient with each other when things weren't going right physically or emotionally. We made friends everywhere we went. We encouraged others to join us. Many did. Ruben was older than me but I never knew how much older.
Ruben would go on to retire in 2001. We kept in touch. I made sure of it. After all, we had become great friends and I always thought of him as a positive influence on me. As the years went by our conversations were not as frequent. I had transitioned to running more than biking. I made new friends. Remembering how Ruben had taken me along with him and his encouraging words, I tried to do the same with others.
Yesterday I called Ruben, told him I was riding in the creek near his home and asked if he'd like to come join me. How happy I was when he agreed. Although we had talked, I hadn't seen Ruben in a little over a year. at that time he looked great as he was working in his garage replacing the brakes on his truck. Yesterday when we met though, I thought Ruben is finally showing his age. To my surprise he told me he is now 74 years old. Amazing! That means when we were riding all over the state back in the 90's he was the age I am now! All this time I thought he was maybe 10-12 years older than me when actually he was 18 years older.
I was happy to ride with him again. We reminisced about our adventures long ago, spoke about our friends then and now, and laughed. It was a great time.
After our ride, after we said goodbye, I became sentimental. I am happy my ole friend is still active. But my friend is now old. That's not a bad thing but he's nearing his sunset. Yes I know it can happen to any of us at anytime. and we should cherish everyone important to us. Family and friends. But this is Ruben! I'll have to ride with him again soon. Gotta make sure he sticks around for awhile.
We should rekindle old friendships because before we know it, tomorrow is yesterday.
We are here on this earth for but a tiny speck of time. Yet we can, if we please, leave a positive experience on others. Enjoy and share as much happiness as possible with those in your life now, and reach out to those in your past. for one day the opportunity may be gone.
|Ruben and I on 08/13/2014|