Rick Ryckeley's blog

A pillow fight

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For seven magical years, my three brothers, sister and me lived at 110 Flamingo Street. During that time whenever Dad walked in after work, he was always greeted with two things.
The first was a kiss from Mom. (Later he told me it helped to prepare him for what usually came next.) The second was a list of issues that needed his attention right away.
Those issues, more often than not, had to deal with one of us kids. On a good night it would be an issue with only one of us – and on a bad night it was an issue that involved all of us. Such was the night of the great pillow fight. Read More»

The phone call

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The Boy called the other day. He called in the most unusual way. The edginess of his voice caused me great apprehension. It was a mixture of excitement, weariness, and yes, even a little tension.
After over an hour of struggling, The Boy had accomplished something really remarkable. He was proud and wanted his dad to hear the news. I wasn’t the first person he called mind you, just the first to hear the news. No one else was home when he phoned. Read More»


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By midnight the last glass was finally placed in the dishwasher and all the wrapping paper thrown away. The excitement of Christmas had been replaced by a whole-body weariness that only comes from the holidays. Entertaining of family and little ones are extremely rewarding, but also extremely draining.
With pj’s on and all the lights off, it was time for a long overdue appointment with bed. A good night sleep was definitely in order.

But such was not to be the case at our house. Sleep would be elusive, and peacefulness would not be found that night or any night since. Read More»

The year in 566 words

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Well, we made it. The last column of the year is finally here, which means if you’re reading it, you must’ve made it too. If you didn’t and you’re still reading this, boy, do I have something to write about next week! Guess the best way to start this year-end column is at the beginning of the year.
In January President Obama was sworn back into office. The next day yours truly rushed to a Nashville hospital and stayed there for over a week. Read More»

An empty chair

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As far back as I can remember, it had never visited Flamingo Street. Sure, once or twice it had gotten close. It had gotten really close the previous winter. But with a neighborhood full of kids playing all day and into the night, it was bound to happen. Just didn’t think it would happen to us.
We never gave it much thought. After all, we were just kids. Our days were filled with arguing, fighting, and having fun as brothers and friends normally do. Even so, adults still talked about it from time to time, but only in whispers and behind closed doors. Read More»

Tinsel Tradition

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To tinsel or not to tinsel, now that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of The Wife’s unhappiness all because tinsel was placed on the family Christmas tree is not.
When Mr. Shakespeare penned the famous soliloquy from Hamlet, it really had nothing to do with garnishing the family tree. But there is a right and wrong way to decorate one, and I should know. Somehow I’ve found the wrong way each year. Guess I have a gift. Just ask The Wife. Read More»

The holiday table

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After witnessing the Thanksgiving meal last week, it was suggested that a review of table manners and place settings for the holidays are in order.

Not gonna tell you who suggested the review or what retired firefighter The Wife said needed the review, but I think you can guess correctly.

Many things have gone out of style since those seven years my three brothers, my sister, and I spent growing up at 110 Flamingo Street. Unfortunately using correct table manners ain’t one of them. Read More»

Black and blue Friday

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A time long ago, on a street not so far away, lived four boys, a girl, and a pet green parakeet that ate hushpuppies off their father’s head.

One Friday after Thanksgiving, the children found themselves extremely bored and became very inventive. Totally unaware of the havoc their new game of in-house tag was about to cause and the lifelong scars it would inflict on one of them, they started to play.

The father too was oblivious to what was about to happen. If he had known, he would’ve certainly put a swift stop to the game. Read More»

Best friends

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It’s been said that friends come and go, but best friends are forever. This year there’s one particular best friend I’m extremely thankful for.

For you see, if it weren’t for him and the kindness he has shown me over the years, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be here today.

Rarely do I speak about divorce, and I’ve never written about it. Such an event tears families apart and can even tear at one’s very soul. Over 16 years ago such an event happened to yours truly. Read More»

Everything in its place

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There’s an old saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Unfortunately for yours truly, The Wife and I, we have a much different idea of where that place should be.
In every relationship there’s one who picks up things around the house, and one who doesn’t. Guess which one I am.
In my defense, I do have a place for everything. It’s just not the same place The Wife wants it to be. Read More»