Before covid, my weeks were sometimes organized around the ‘Events’ tab on Facebook. In my business, networking and being out in the community is important. My routine was to look at events on Sunday evening or Monday morning and see which ones were coming up so I could make plans to attend. Until quarantine!
It was sad to see that events disappeared, then began to reappear as virtual. I hate virtual meetings, I want to hug people, not air high-five them. Then as time went on, the events began to fill up again.
Now, I love seeing all of the holiday events coming. People are coming back together and we are remembering how important our friendships are. We lost a lot of people over the past 2 years. We should never take those relationships for granted again, regardless of how deep or not to deep they were.
This past week, our county dedicated a courtroom to a man that I absolutely loved. He and I were not close by any means, and he only knew me in passing to a degree, but I watched him over the years and knew he was truly a good man.
Judge Cude would come to Decatur Conference Center, where I worked, every week for Rotary Club. He walked in the farthest door to get his steps in, and was always cheerful. Even though he was 1 of only 2 judges we have in Wise County to hear criminal and civil cases, he still made time to be in church, attend and work in Rotary club and serve in the community.
I can clearly remember seeing him at the annual Lawn & Home show, with his Rotary T-shirt on, helping vendors and visitors, always putting a smile on their face. You would often see him fast walking on the square, with his little fedora on, getting his steps in.
When his daughter was getting married, he came into DCC carrying things for the reception, patiently following his wife. He went into the room, put the supplies down on a table and immediately went to the dance floor. He began dancing around, arms in the air, singing the music, and pretending to hold his precious girl. I had to just stop and watch, it touched my heart so. He looked at me and told me he had to practice because he didn’t want to mess it up. I could see the love he had for her, then I teared up and left the room.
Part of my job at DCC was to get photos and post on social media. He had stepped out of his Rotary meeting and was in the hall talking to two men, so I snapped some pics and went back to my desk. When I opened the photos, I quickly realized they were plain clothes sheriff’s deputies, and he was signing a warrant. It was a reminder, that even though he was always jovial and light-hearted, he carried a serious level of authority.
Judge Cude always took time to visit with me, regardless of where he was. And for that I am truly grateful.
I heard a story once, of a man who had been arrested, and instead of making the man feel like a loser, Judge Cude addressed him with respect and treated him very well. Then the Judge took the time to encourage the young man and it made him literally choose to begin making better choices in life. All because of Judge Cude's kindness.
Late last year, when news of his passing was posted in the daily update, you could almost hear the breaking of every heart in the county. It was a devastating loss.
While many of you reading this may not live in Wise County, and may not have known this man, this is what living in rural Texas is like. You can find men and women like this everywhere if you look. If you can’t find any where you are, then become one. Become someone that will cause people to remember you with a warm heart. Become someone that changes lives just by encouraging them. Be someone who makes people smile when they see you and they know you care about them.
To be honest, this wasn’t the direction I was going to go with this newsletter. But I remembered this amazing man and just had to make this tribute. I want to be like Judge Cude. I want to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone I meet.
Now I’m going to start looking at the events tab of Facebook and purpose to get back into the community and make a difference in someone’s day. There are a lot of great holiday events coming up! I hope to see you there and I won’t ever take those chance relationships for granted again. They change my life.