Rick Ryckeley's blog

The backup plan

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No matter how careful you are, sometimes things just don’t always work out the way you planned. That’s why you gotta have a backup plan. I learned this lesson early on in life — at the tender age of 8, to be exact — and it all started with a stick.

Unusual? Yes, but where I learned that lesson was even more so. To do so, I actually had to go out on a limb — the limb of giant oak tree some 50 feet above the meanest kid that ever lived on Flamingo Street. Read More»

Meet Strong Arm Magee

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Lighting tore open the blackening sky, dumping a torrent of rain on the houses below. The unrelenting wind moaned as if it were a stricken soul. It shook the giant oaks down to their roots as they groaned and swayed under the strain. Their bare limbs raked across the bedroom windowpanes of unsuspecting children in the neighborhood. The sound of fingernails scratching down a blackboard would’ve been more welcome. It was just a prelude for what was about to come.

Such was the calling card of Strong Arm Magee. Read More»

The Universal Dad

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The Boy amused me the other day — he often does of late. With the closing on his new house now under his belt, his upcoming marriage, and hopefully soon a grandchild or two, one would say The Boy has a lot of balls in the air. Luckily for him, he’s a good juggler. Read More»

Get the green out!

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Spring brings back wonderful memories from our time growing up at 110 Flamingo Street. Climbing high up into young trees, then jumping off and riding them back to the ground (only to watch as they fly back up and smack brothers) is just one of them.

Another is being stuck knee deep in the gray mud of Cripple Creek, then having my shoes sucked from my feet. Doing flips off a rope swing and landing with a splash into cool waters of a lake at the edge of a haunted forest. Read More»

Time to bite the Apple

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Finally, after all these years, I now know what has become of Down the Street Bully Brad.

He’s the kid who took great joy in tormenting yours truly almost daily during the seven years my three brothers, sister and I spent growing up at 110 Flamingo Street.

Seems Bully Brad is still up to his old tricks — mainly making my life as difficult and painful as possible. It seems worms have infected my computer by way of an email.

They were unleashed by none other than my old arch-nemesis. I’m sure it was him. Who else would do such a dastardly deed? Read More»

Scars of life

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Lovable little fuzz balls. If you asked, that’s how my three brothers, sister, and I would’ve described us during the time we spent growing up at 110 Flamingo Street.

It’s hard to imagine though, as lovable as we all were during those seven years, that our parents were the ones who actually needed a timeout. Away from all of us, that is. Read More»

Downsizing childhood memories

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For the second time this year, I must venture down into the darkness. While fighting off creatures in our gloomy, musty basement, I shall retrieve my soapbox, dust it off, and stand upon it once again.

Actually, to be honest, The Wife has to get the soapbox while fending off those spider crickets. I still can’t navigate steps too well due to surgery last December. Read More»

Angels on Earth

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Question: What do you get if you add together one research paper on early education, a handful of mixed nuts, and not following your mom’s advice?

Answer: A seven-day stay in one of Nashville’s finest hospitals, a room full of angels, and two weeks being unable to write a newspaper column.

Confused? Yep, so was I. Never saw it coming. So climb aboard, fasten your seatbelt, and hang on, Dear Reader. This is gonna be one crazy ride, and how it all ended surprised even me because the ending of this story was supplied by none other than The Boy. Read More»

Anatomy of flu

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Experts say the best way to prevent coming down with the flu is to get a flu shot. I got news for the experts. They’re wrong — take it from someone who got said shot and then two months later got said flu.

So is there any hope for the uninfected to avoid a week in bed watching reruns of their favorite television show?

Have no fear, dear Reader. There’s a better way to stay well — one that’s proven to be almost 100 percent effective.

Why just “almost,” you might ask? The answer is at the end of this story. First, let’s take a moment to look at the anatomy of flu. Read More»

Please listen to me

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Really shouldn’t be surprised. No one ever listens to me.

I thought, being married, things would be different. Doesn’t being married mean you have to listen to your significant other’s endless rambling, regardless of whether you want to or not? Surely it’s a rule written in the marriage vows somewhere, right?

Nope, not surprisingly, I’m wrong again.

Last night, The Wife and I were watching television. During one of the commercials, she looked over and asked, “What were you saying, dear?” Yep, I’d been rambling on for the last ten minutes, and she hadn’t heard a word. Read More»

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