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Thoughts for the Road | January/February 2013

ThoughtsForTheRoad

By Kay Peterson #1, Escapees RV Club Co-founder and Director

This is the 182nd “Thoughts for the Road” column I have written. None of us can see how much sand remains in our personal hourglass. I am turning 86. I may live another 15 years (my grandmother died at 101), or I may die as unexpectedly as Joe did. Life comes without guarantees, and so do how many future columns I can write.

Two years ago, when I was writing the November/December column, Joe and I were making future plans. Then, on December 22, suddenly he was gone. We all have a birth certificate to prove we were born and a death certificate to prove we no longer exist in this world. What is there to prove we ever lived?

For Joe there are awards and visual reminders of successes, but what he wanted to be remembered for was his ability to make people laugh.

The sound he loved best was his own and other people’s laughter. He used laughter to poke holes in worries and unhappiness so hope would shine through. That was his real legacy—the declaration of who he was.

We all leave memories with people whose lives we have touched.

Like the story of the blind man trying to describe an elephant, we can only know that small part that shows while our lives were actually touching. Who we really are is the total of all our important past experiences.

Escapees is a visible accomplishment Joe and I started together.

Some wise person said, “Don’t let old dreams imprison you.” Did that mean I should find a new future, a new dream? I thought about what I wanted my own legacy to be. Joe had his jokes. For me, telling stories is what I most enjoy.

I think someday a new member might ask who started Escapees. What kind of people were they? How did CARE start? As new generations take over running Escapees, and older members disappear, there will be fewer people to answer those questions.

It was time to write our life story before it dies with me. Inside all of us is buried a “story” of our learning experiences, good, bad and ugly. They molded us into the people we became. If our life story was meant to die with us, why do descendents try so hard to uncover the mystery of their ancestors?

Telling my story meant opening that skeleton closet of mistakes, disappointments and heartaches during the years Joe and I searched for a soul mate until we finally found one in each other. Yet it is the total of all our experiences that explain who we are and why we made the decisions we did. Joe and I were fortunate to have experiences during travels at home and abroad that taught us meaningful lessons about life.

For those who read my story, I hope it will help you in your own life to ignore those who say you cannot do whatever it is you truly want to do. My most important self-discovery was that belief in myself would allow me to beat whatever odds were against succeeding.

Beating the Odds: The Story Behind the Founders of the Escapees RV Club is the story of how both Joe and I achieved our childhood goals and became the persons we wanted to be.

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