Rick Ryckeley's blog


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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»

Life by the numbers

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One was a very good number. Even though I was there, I don’t really remember much. It was day one, our first.

Twin Brother Mark and me were born in April many years ago. The doctors said that we were kicking each other to see who would be the one born first. He won.

Mark and me, we’ve been fighting ever since, and rightly so. Spend the first nine months and then the next 18 years with someone in the same cramped space, I bet you’d be fighting all the time too. Read More»

Holes in the fence

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If you have a brother, chances are you’ve been in a fight or two during your childhood.

I have three brothers. There were lots of battles while we were growing up at 110 Flamingo Street. Most were outside. A few were in. The ones inside got us into more trouble than the ones outside.

That’s how Twin Brother Mark and me found ourselves on the wrong side of Neighbor Thomas’s new fence. We were caught again running through the house throwing water balloons at each other. Read More»

Breaking up is easy

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That’s it! After 15 years, I’ve had enough. The anxiety, the sleepless nights, and the fighting have been going on way too long. It’s time to put an end to all of it. Ask anyone; they’ll say the same thing. Ending a long-term relationship is hard to do, but in my case, I disagree.

It’s gonna be easy, and we’re both looking forward to it. Read More»

Just a little pinch

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They say confession is good for the soul. If that’s true, I should feel rather good after this column.

Unless Jim reads it, finds out where I live, chases me down and finally pounds out his revenge.

But after 38 years, what are the odds that’ll happen? Besides what I did didn’t break any laws, and there was no such rule against it. I know; after the football game I checked.
But it sure did work, and we won. Read More»

It's not my fault

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It wasn’t something one would expect to see in a typical garden, except maybe a garden located behind 110 Flamingo Street. Of course we had squash, okra, tomatoes and the like.

And if I were being honest, what Dad saw when he came around the backside of the house surprised even me. It’s true, I was there when it happened, but this time it wasn’t my fault. Read More»

30 feet under Flamingo Street

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As you remember, Dear Reader, last week we left our hero stuck, unable to move, in the middle of a drain pipe deep under Flamingo Street. Chased there by his arch-nemesis, and with his brother James lying possibly dead on the valley floor, he’d given up all hope of rescue. Read More»

The third step

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Growing up at 110 Flamingo, my three brothers, sister and I had summers packed full of one adventure after another. For seven years, we had dirt clod and water balloon battles, did flips off of rope swings into the cool waters of Cripple Creek, and rode trees in the Haunted Forest.

Unfortunately, in the middle of all those adventures, a few times things went horribly wrong. Those misadventures scared even us. When that happened, we never told our parents for fear they would never let us out of our rooms again.

This story is one of those misadventures. Read More»

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