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Ruven, on the right,
one of my very favorite people.


472 words


A simple story that could change the world
by Dianne Roth


About a year ago, a friend since second grade told me a story from her childhood. I asked her if I could tell it here. It seems like a timely story to tell.

She and her family had just moved from Denver to Indian Hills where her father and mother had spent a couple of years building a house. As I remember it, you wound up the hill about as far as you could go and there was their house and horse barn.

I loved going there. The two of us were wildly imaginative and having horses to take us on our wanderings was perfect for a couple of wild girls from the 50’s.

Her father, a native citizen of the United States of Mexican descent, was one of my favorite people. He introduced me to Mexican cuisine and continually challenged me to try hotter and hotter food. I loved the heat and, even when my mouth was on fire, I never let on. I know it was a mutual admiration society.

The story she told me was about her father, and a run-in with the law.

They were driving to their home on a two lane, mountain highway. Into a curve, they were suddenly faced with a car in their lane. There was an accident, no one was hurt. But, her father told her to get out of the car and run to the nearby Episcopal Church and bring the priest.

She did and by the time they got back, her father had been ticketed. In fact, it was not the only time this happened. He was frequently pulled over for searches or a record check or ticketed for... whatever. In this case, the man in their lane was a “pillar” of the community and Ruven got the ticket.

My friend just shook her head, sad for the fine man who was her father.

This story is timely. Not because of current stories about police encounters with minorities, but because of the world that was set in motion by our founders. They planned and codified a world of segregation. Like many cultures around our globe, they made sure there were layers of society and passed laws to make it stay that way.

Maybe they didn’t know any better. But, we do. And, it is long past time to end the misguided strata built into our society.

There is a small, but powerful step each of us can take. Smile. Smile at everyone. Say hello to everyone. We are all the children of this Earth. There is a rich and varied world that does not need to be beyond anyone’s reach. Look everyone in the eye. Smile. Trust, laugh, make a connection, and change the world. It’s not much, but it is something our ancestors made certain would never happen.


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.




Last updated on November 4, 2015