48: A Glorious Ride

48: A Glorious Ride

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: For Mom, with Love

A Glorious Ride

If wrinkles must be written on our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.

~James A. Garfield

Bold, wild, adventurous — not words I would use to describe my mother-in-law. I’d heard the stories about Gran as a young girl, daring to ride a calf back from the stream on her parents’ farm and getting bucked off. But she grew up and calmed down. Marrying late in life, she lost her husband after only three years. Then she did the only thing she knew to do. She went back to work as a hairdresser and quietly raised her only child, my husband. After working more than forty years, she retired in her mid-seventies to settle into a semi-reclusive life. Sedate, solitary, dignified — now that was the Gran I knew.

So it surprised us all when she told my younger son, Jeremy, she wanted him to take her for a ride in his Jeep Wrangler — with the top down. Cautious Gran? The meticulous hair stylist?

For three years, Jeremy intended to grant his grandmother’s wish, but something always got in the way. Finally, he picked up the phone one day just after her eighty-fifth birthday and called her. “We’re coming up tomorrow. I’m going to take you for that ride in my Jeep.”

Gran could barely contain her excitement. “I can’t wait!”

The next morning, Jeremy and his dad hopped in the Jeep and drove the three-hour trip into the rolling foothills of middle Tennessee. Making a brief stop at Gran’s, they unsnapped the windows and pulled off the Jeep’s top. Then they buckled Gran into the front passenger seat and headed for her seven-acre parcel of land near Sycamore Lake.

I saw the pictures of her later, perched on the leather seat with the sun shining on her face and the wind blowing through her hair. Well, sort of. Actually, she covered her head with a scarf and put Jeremy’s golf cap on top for good measure. Gran is particular about her hair after all. But the wind didn’t detract from her exhilaration. The ride down the bumpy dirt road to her property did nothing to spoil her excitement. Even the mud spewing past her windowless door when they got stuck on the trail couldn’t diminish her joy.

Later that day Gran called me, tired but eager to talk about her adventure. “That was a long time coming but well worth the wait. It was a glorious ride!”

As I move into my senior years, I want to remember Gran’s example. Raising my family, I often became so busy with work and church, home and activities that I forgot to take delight in the moment. Sometimes I let life rush past, like wind past a Jeep, or allowed the bumpy ride and the spewing mud to steal my joy. But Jeremy and Gran didn’t. They took the chance at an adventure and made memories that weekend, sweet memories that will last across the years.

Thanks to Gran, I am learning how to make life a glorious ride.

~Tracy Crump

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners