No matter how dark the clouds, there’s a silver lining in there somewhere, believes Rita Rudloff, who has authored a book, “Mystical,” that weaves a journey of a lifetime into a fiction of adventure.
In her book, three sisters embark on a trip that binds their relationships and frees them to embrace who they have each become. The story involves camping near a band of traveling gypsies and a mystical fortune teller named Kezia.
“I’m 79,” Rudloff said. “As you age, you leave what was behind you for unknown chartered territory. It’s a transition in leaving youth behind and embracing what’s to come. By some lucky thing, I’m still going. I hope this story inspires you to keep going no matter what age you are.”
The book is available through Amazon.
Rudloff said she has always wanted to write a book, and when she finally sat down to make her dream a reality, it only took two months to put it all together.
“I had stuff all over the table,” she said. “When it comes to characters, you have all these sticky notes and diagrams — you don’t want to goof up.”
She stitches memories of her own life into the pages of her book, such as the time the heating element on her stove went haywire with a turkey in the oven.
“I sat down and woke up to smoke in the house,” Rudloff said. “I opened the door and gave the turkey pan a heave out in the snowbank. I opened windows and lit candles to get the smoke smell out, then all of a sudden the dog wants out.
“You can’t leave the dog out when you’ve got a turkey out there in the snowbank,” she added. “I had to go out with snow above my knees and drag that turkey pan out of the snowbank so we could let the dog out.”
A unique twist to her book are songs she refers to within the chapters that provide deeper meaning for the experiences the three sisters encounter on their journey. Songs include “On the Road Again,” “Up the Lazy River” and “Gypsy Woman,” to name a few.
“Each song contributes to the story,” Rudloff said. “I have lived with music all my life. I listen to music every day. On holidays, grandma had the stereo on and dancing with the little ones. That’s the way this grandma was. I miss that.”
While gypsies are a big part of her book, Rudloff said tales of the boisterous traveling groups actually gripped her with fear as a child.
“My mother always said, ‘Be good or the gypsies will get you,’” she remembered. “I grew up in Miller. We lived not too far from the railroad tracks.
“Mom always gave food to the hobos coming to the door, she always said that could be Jesus,” Rudloff added. “My mother had dark eyes that danced. She was a seamstress and an artist.”
Rudloff said having her book published and available on Amazon has been on her bucket list for years. Her daughter, Marie Skovlund, who lives in Minnesota, is also a creative writer and helped her get it published.
Two of her grandsons are also involved in journalism for a military/veterans magazine, “Coffee or Die,” which is published on the East Coast. Grandson Marty Skovlund Jr. was tapped as executive editor to help launch the magazine, and his brother, Josh, writes for the publication as well.
“They are two tremendous grandsons,” Rudloff said. “They went to Ukraine to report when this all started out. I get pictures from France and Ukraine, they travel around the world.”
For the past 10 years she has also been helping her son, Gary, who owns and operates Rudy’s Auto Body and Towing. “I came out of retirement to help him. That helps me too, what would I be doing,” Rudloff said. “I don’t watch TV very much, I’m usually doing something.”
Rudloff said she chose the name for her book by googling Gypsy names for women and picked the one she liked the most.
“I had a lot of knocks in my life,” she said. “The older you get, the more you lose at times. I’ve watched people and there’s only one way – if you get hit with a negative you can swallow that and dwell on it or take the positive and put in there.
“One of the biggest positives you can do is get one foot going and go help somebody,” Rudloff added. “Every negative can have a positive.”