An Ode to Rudy’s Youth


After Rudy finished eating breakfast on the morning of his 5th birthday, he excitedly ran toward the front door, hoping to kick around the soccer ball in the front yard. Unfortunately, his mom stopped him before he had a chance to escape, reminding him he needed to dress in his nice clothes. The ones that lay neatly across his bed. Rudy kicked at the floor and scowled.

Ten minutes later he re-entered the living room wearing a short sleeved white collared shirt fashioned with yellow pinstripes, black slacks, and slick black shoes. His hair was neatly combed back, and a half smile creeped onto his face.

“Qué guapo, hijo!” his mom admonished.

After spending the morning visiting family members in neighboring homes and accepting birthday wishes and hugs from everyone, Rudy spent the afternoon hanging with friends, playing games, eating food, blowing out the candles on his cake, and finally watching a soccer match at the local field.

Later, as the sun began to set, Rudy sat in a rather large chair, facing the crowd of people, opening presents. With each gift the boys and girls clapped their hands, seemingly as excited as Rudy was. Suddenly, a huge box was brought over and placed directly in front of the birthday boy. In his mind, all Rudy could think was that this massive box must contain the fire truck that he had been hoping for. The motorized one, with an extra seat for another fireman behind him.

He cracked open the lid. Looked inside. And felt a bit disappointed. There was another sealed box inside, which, in his mind, meant it diminished the size of what the fire truck should be. An adult came over, pulled the second box out of the first box and placed it in front of Rudy. Again, he peeled open the lid of the box, finding, again, another box. This process repeated itself five more times, ending only when inside the final container was a very small black jewelry box.

Rudy held the tiny cube at arms length, considering the gift from some friends of his parents. With coaxing, he finally flipped the squeaky-hinged box open, finding a gold ring. For a second he felt completely disappointed.

He had no idea what to do with a ring. He had plenty of ideas for fire truck uses.

“Feliz Cumpleaños a ti! Feliz Cumpleaños a ti! Feliz Cumpleaños que rido, Rodolfo! Feliz Cumpleaños a ti!”


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