Rick Ryckeley's blog

The best birthday gift

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Over the last 54 years, yours truly has received many wonderful birthday gifts. It’s true, some gifts have been better than others. Some I wish I’d never gotten. Still, family and friends have all helped to make the day special.

But what has been the best birthday gift I’ve ever received? Did it come from a friend, my parents, or even The Wife?

Nope, surprisingly it came from The Boy. And he gave it this year. Although if you’d ask him, he’d say all he was able to give was a card. Unknowingly, he has given me far more than he could ever imagine. Read More»

Unruly children

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After a long week of working and school, The Wife was ready for it. And after a long week of fighting fires, rescuing damsels in distress, and writing, I was ready for it too. A much deserved date night – something of a rare occurrence around our house nowadays to be sure.

At 5 in the afternoon, we threw all the worries of work and life aside and walked into the movie theater to view the hottest new release. Afterwards, an enjoyable dining experience at one of the most talked about restaurants in town awaited us.

Or so we thought. Read More»

Coconut judgment

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Early one morning, with razor in hand, a look in the mirror revealed more than I expected.

Okay, stop laughing. I’m not talking about the extra few pounds that somehow I’ve picked up.

Thinning hair has finally revealed a scar from long ago – a scar that has been covered for over 46 years. On top of my head was a 2-inch reminder of the true wrath of God. Read More»

Ride of a lifetime

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I must admit, being 8 years old at the time, the new game seemed safe enough. Little did I know just how wrong I was – by the end of the day all of us ended up getting hurt. One of us even took a trip to the hospital. But that’s the end of this story. Here’s the beginning.

The plan:

As soon as Older Brother Richard said it was safe, I started to worry. You see, growing up at 110 Flamingo Street, I learned quickly. When there’s no possible way anyone could get hurt, someone always did. And seeing as I hadn’t been injured in about three weeks ... well, I figured I was about due. Read More»

The squirrel and the nut

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Black dirt covered both hands and sweat ran down my face as I admired the garden that took all winter to plan and three weeks to build. That’s when I first heard it, a scratching noise from above that sounded like fingernails on metal.

Thinking it was simply my imagination, I proudly snapped a picture of my handiwork, I started cleaning up tools, looking forward to a shower and a celebratory dinner out with the wife.

I heard the scratching noise again. Read More»

I've finally lost it

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Ask The Wife, she will tell you. I haven’t lost my memory. One must actually have one first in order to lose it.

Funny, I can remember the details of things that happened over 45 years ago as clear as if they happened just last week. The first time I was chased, caught, and beaten by Down the Street Bully Brad is pounded painfully into my memory. That and I still carry the scar on my chin. Read More»

Say hello to Mr. Wilson

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The Wife and I, we live in a small, quiet town. From our front door, it’s an easy walk to the heart of downtown and the old-fashioned coffee shop where we get breakfast and a hot wakeup drink.

There, we talk about everything and nothing, as we enjoy the ambiance and watch the townsfolk filter in. On Saturdays we spend more time than money weaving our way through the many eclectic antique shops which dot Main Street. Always a surprise and a treat are the homemade ice-cream and samples of chocolates from the corner mercantile. Read More»

The art of riding trees

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Growing up at 110 Flamingo Street for seven years, my three brothers, sister, and I had summers filled with adventures and misadventures.

The adventures were a lot more fun than misadventures, and a lot less painful. Some of these led to doctor visits, a few sent us to the hospital and some were downright too crazy to even to try once, much less continue to do for an entire summer.

Such was the art of riding trees. Read More»

Green energy nightlights

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If we’re lucky, some fond childhood memories are carried with us the rest of our lives: pieces of childhood hidden safely away in the darkness that we can, from time to time, bring forth into the light, look at, and smile. I truly believe it’s a way we all can stay young.

This story is about just such a memory — a memory that has followed me into the very house we now live, but The Wife knows nothing of it. It started where a lot of my memories start – in a backyard that bellied out into a swamp just behind 110 Flamingo Street. Read More»

The punishment

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If you’re a regular reader of this column, it might seem to you that 110 Flamingo Street had been the perfect place to grow up — a place where nothing ever went wrong, no one got into trouble, and parents were always forgiving.

Well, I got news for you: things did, we did, and no, they weren’t.

When we got caught doing things we shouldn’t, our parents punished us. I remember the first time Dad told me to march myself outside and pick out a switch. What happened next wasn’t planned, but I’ve never forgotten it. Read More»

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