A True Kentucky Derby Story
This is not a horse story!
My Mother had a large group of teacher friends and they were always having get togethers. This is a story about one of her friends.
I will call her Mary, to offer some protection and privacy. Mary had raised her children as a single parent as her husband was killed in the big war. She was a third grade teacher for years and years and when it came time to retire she decided she wanted to see the Kentucky Derby to celebrate this big day.
Her children were all grown up with families of their own and they thought this was what she wanted to do to celebrate but they did not want to go with her. Mary found 4 other teachers in her group who thought it was a wonderful way to celebrate and they spent a year planning the adventure and even were invited to a fancy dinner party and ball during the adventure.
They also got on a tour of the area so the trip extended out to a week long event.
Mary was planning on hiring a student to help over the week with bags and errands, but no one answered her ad from the High Schools except a 12 year old boy. After a short interview with this young man, Mary decided he was just the assistant they all needed. The group found the boy to be resourceful, happy and diligent in their service. They also discovered that he had a sister and his mother was single parenting and working as a house keeper in one of the motels.
The young boy was also very smart and he added stories about the area and history to the retirement itinerary. Mary and her group took the young man, his mother and sister out to dinner the last evening in town and gave him a $100 bonus for his great efforts.
Then Mary asked this fellow to show them his school. It was in very sad shape as was the small cabin where is family lived. It was obvious that this was quite a struggle for survival.
Mary gave the family her address as she left and told the young man to write her about how he was doing in school and if he had some hopes and dreams. 2 Days after she got home a lovely thank you note arrived from this young man and he had answered her questions. He wanted to make enough money to go to college and take care of his mother.
Mary had never gotten a thank you note from her Grand children and they actually did not seem very interested in her or her activities – they would rather do something else.
Mary wrote back to the young man and then she researched college preparation schools in the area.
Mary offered the young man tuition to one of the schools if he would come home each night and teach his sister what he had learned and if he would make Bs at the school.
He never got less than As at his new school and he lived true to his word to teach his sister well.
Mary had tucked away a small amount every month from her paycheck to help her grandchildren with college. She now took this money and helped the young man and his sister go through college and medical school. The young man is now a Family Practice Physician and his sister is a Dentist. They bought a house for their mom and both of them write to Mary every month since that amazing retirement trip to the Kentucky Derby.
Mary died the year before my Mother. Everyone at the memorial service were excited to see her whole family together to honor her life and all were amazed when a lovely young man from Kentucky rose to speak about the gifts Mary and given him and his family – his whole family had traveled from Kentucky for the service.
This young man also had a box filled with the 1700 letters that Mary had written him over the years to encourage and assist him in his endeavors.
I wanted to share this story because it touched my heart about how sometimes just a small gesture and a lot of caring and thoughtfulness can change a life and win a horse race.
Happy May Day (did you get a basket of flowers at your door?) Happy International Worker’s Day and may the Kentucky Derby be a great horse race to remember and bring us all good luck.
Do you have a story about a little gesture that made a big difference? Or how about creating your family and extending it? Please share, I would love a collection here. Thank you
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