Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
Back to Rudy in a moment.
If there is one thing that older folks are always right about when it comes to giving young people advice, it’s this: Surround yourself with good people – for the rest of your lives.
I’m always surprised when I see someone my age, or close to my age, post a graphic or meme to their timeline that shows that they haven’t gotten this message. And if they haven’t figured out how imperative it is to surround themselves with good people, they probably never will. That said, I realize that when it comes to family, it’s difficult to get rid of negative influences. But at least we can pick and choose when we want to see some members of the family.
I know that the people close to me are really good people. Of course, they’re not perfect; they have flaws; they do things that I don’t agree with; and I’m certain the same is true about how they see me.
What I love about my friends is how much they surprise me. And I try – in some ways – to surprise them, too. Last year I blogged about a friend of mine who rescued me. Some of you may remember when I reached out to my Facebook community to ask if anyone knew where I could get over-sized cardboard (I needed it for a student project). My buddy, Jay, not only bought it, he picked it up, delivered it, AND wouldn’t take payment. He told me to consider it a donation.
In another instance, my good friend, Big Jerry Ahern, bought folders for all of my students, and asked me if there was anything else I needed for my classroom.
Both Jay and Jerry did this to support me, but more importantly, to support teachers.
For the past three days I’ve been in Modesto for a summer institute tailored for the class that I teach: Expository Reading and Writing. After day one of the institute, I decided to go to the local Chili’s for an early dinner and a margarita. Okay, two margaritas.
Back to Rudy.
When my chips, salsa, and drink arrived, I did what I don’t often do: I took a picture of my food and posted it to Facebook with this caption: “Out here in hot a** Modesto for a teacher training.” A few minutes later I received a text from my friend Rudy that read: “I have an urgent message. What’s your email?” And a moment later the manager came up to me and asked if my name is Rigo. She then said, “Your friend, Rudy, called. He wants to pay for your meal.”
I sent Rudy this text: “Manager just let me know. You’re too much. Thank you!”
His response: “You’re welcome. I love teachers. But as a friend, I love you even more. Thank you for all you do, bro.”
Moments of support from friends like this touch me in ways and it’s hard to put into words what this means to me. For each of these instances that I have described, I have been moved immeasurably. I feel a deep sense of appreciation for what my friends have done, and especially how they’ve made me feel.
It reminds of a quote from the late, great writer and poet Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them…”
My friends often show me who they are, and I not only believe them, I love them.by