Rick Ryckeley's blog

The recliner wars

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With the election finally behind us, you’d think all the tension in our household would finally have subsided. No more arguments about who’s right and who’s wrong.
Unfortunately all is not peaceful in our normally peaceful corner of the world. Now there’s a far bigger battle on the horizon. And ground zero? It’s the middle of our living room. And in any battle there’s a winner and a loser. Guess which one I am. Read More»

When The Wife's Away

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Sir Isaac Newton once said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Well, for a really smart guy, and the inventor of the tastiest cookie ever, Sir Newton sure didn’t know what he was talking about when it came to my dad.

For every action I took doing something I thought was a good idea, it created a much bigger reaction from my dad when he finally found out — especially if he and Mom were gone and left us kids alone for the day with nothing to do. Read More»

Calling all teenagers

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For all the parents out there who think teenagers don’t listen to a word you say, you’re right – they don’t. For all the teenagers out there who think parents don’t understand anything you say, you’re right also. So if parents and teenagers don’t listen to each other, who should they listen to? Why, the old guy who writes the newspaper column, of course.

Last Friday, The wife and I ventured out to a local restaurant for a rare date night. This was fortunate for me for two reasons: time with The Wife is always enjoyable and I didn’t have a topic for this week’s column. Now I do. Read More»

The cardboard house

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Years ago, I asked The English Teacher who edits my column just how long should a story be. Her answer came back in teacher-speak, “Each one should have a beginning, middle, and an end, and be long enough to tell the story. Not a word longer or shorter.”

Well, this story does have a beginning, middle, but — as of yet — no end. For you see, dear reader, the end will be written by you. Read More»

The Wayward Child

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Make no mistake about it; The Wife and I saw all the warning signs. We just chose to ignore them. No one wants to believe one of their beloved family members would intentionally put them through such a trying time.

Still, over the weekend, our wayward child went missing. Late Friday night, he got out of bed, got into trouble, and ended up in the custody of the local authorities. Read More»

The special ingredient

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The days are getting shorter. There’s a cool crispness in the air. Trees around here will soon be splashed with colors marking the change of the seasons. Fall is upon us once again.

October brings with it big orange pumpkins, which The Wife simply loves. Thanksgiving and Christmas have their own family traditions, and fond memories of simpler times.

Yes, this is my favorite time of the year, but not for the reasons you may expect. Fall makes me think of sandwiches. A little odd, I’ll admit. Then again, so am I. Read More»


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The young boy stood in the doorway and tried to fill his lungs with air. It was heavily scented with perfume and cigar smoke, but he managed a small sigh nonetheless.

He looked down at wooden floors and tried not to be noticed. He paused momentarily – a deliberate effort not to make eye contact with any of the attendees.

Wading into the sea of people gathered for evening dinner parties took great courage. Even for a 7-year-old. Read More»


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You see, it’s really not my fault. When God was handing out patience, the line was extremely long and I got tired of waiting.

I’m not impatient, mind you. Just don’t like waiting. Christmas was the first time I became aware of this – while growing up at 110 Flamingo Street.

Christmas only came once a year and someone put it way at the end. Back then I thought it was just to make us kids behave.

A year. Now if you’re a kid, that’s a long time to be good and wait for anything – even gifts. That’s why I’d sneak downstairs on Christmas Eve and look for Santa. Read More»


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Funny thing about life: a registered letter, phone call, or knock on the door in the middle of the night can derail the best laid plans.

Life’s journey can take us around turns and lead us down pathways we never could imagine for ourselves – some good and some not so good.

The good stuff anyone can take. Lessons are learned and character is built from how one handles the bad stuff, and we draw upon both of those to guide us through the rest of our lives. At least that’s what Dad always said. It’s one of the many lessons Dad taught us while growing up at 110 Flamingo Street. Read More»

Picnic on Blue Ridge Parkway

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Last week, at the county fair, I saw a mom pushing her baby stroller. The occupant, a happy little boy, had just grabbed a handful of pink cotton candy and was entertained by the sugary cloud. So much so, he stuffed not only the pink stuff, but his entire hand in his mouth and sucked each finger as if to make sure none would possibly be wasted.

I watched and smiled as they strolled past. Been a long time since I had the ability to do such a thing – place my entire hand in my mouth, and for good reason. As an adult there’s just no room. Usually my foot has taken up all the space. Read More»

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