Rick Ryckeley's blog

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»

The perfect plan

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A more perfect plan had never been conceived. It had taken almost a week to assemble, with every aspect of it thought out to the last detail. Absolutely nothing could’ve gone wrong. Yet somehow — horribly and painfully — it had.

At the bottom of Flamingo Street, a young boy lay in a crumpled mass, his right hand sporting a two-inch bloody gash. The new bike, broken beyond repair, had finally ended its tumble at the feet of the meanest kid on Flamingo Street — Down the Street Bully Brad. That’s how this story ends; here’s how it begins. Read More»

Humbled by greatness

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During my time spent on this Earth, I’ve been lucky enough to meet three extraordinary people that changed my life forever. Until last month — last month, I met a fourth.

If told, each would be surprised they’ve had such an influence. After all, to them, they were just going through life doing what comes natural. For you see, what separates them from the crowd is not just who they are or what they do for a living. With each, their true greatness comes from humility.

It’s what makes them four extraordinary gentlemen. Read More»

Christmas ornament question

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If you were a Christmas ornament, what would you be? A strange question, I’ll admit, and one that might take a great amount of thought before answering. After all, it’s not every day one is asked to be a Christmas ornament.

Our 6-year-old neighbor said he wanted to be the drummer boy. It’s the only ornament that can beat things with a stick and not get into trouble. It’s also the loudest ornament on the entire tree. His mom agreed, as we watched him run after his brothers – stick in hand – screaming all the way. Read More»

The lonely little Christmas tree

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The black bird soared high over the house and over the empty pasture before dropping a single seed. It was a pasture that once teamed with cows, chickens, and pigs, but no longer. Hard times had befallen the family of four that lived in the small clapboard house. Once painted bright, cheery yellow, the house had taken on a dirty brown appearance in recent years. Read More»

Grumpy old man

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Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it. Now, I know it’s the holiday season. We should all be filled with love, hope and joy.

Yep, the key words in that last sentence are “should be.” Looks like a few folks didn’t get the love and joy memo. If you ask me, there’s no hope for them, either.

So what’s got my long johns in a bunch now, you might ask? I can easily be grumpy — if only I were allowed. The Wife has been saying all week I can’t. The reason why is at the end of this story. Here’s the beginning. Read More»

Death by hot cocoa

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That’s exactly what happened. In the middle of the living room, I thought I was dying.

There was no help from my brothers or sister as I coughed, gasped for breath, and ran around the room. There was only laughter; lots and lots of laughter.

At 8 years old, it surely was nice to know I could depend on them when my life was quickly fading away.

Dad really didn’t try to poison me. At least that’s what he said for years after the event. To him it was one harmless little sip of his special hot cocoa a few weeks before Christmas. Read More»

The turkey dance

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Not going to school and playing all day due to the holiday sure can suck all the energy out of a kid. Luckily, on Thanksgiving morning, the surprisingly wonderful smell of freshly baked apple pie drifted into our bedroom and pulled me out of my sleep-coma. If it hadn’t, I might have missed the holiday dinner altogether.

You see, living at 110 Flamingo Street, enjoyable smells were not a common occurrence in our bedroom or any room shared with Twin Brother Mark. There was only one logical thing to do to make sure I wasn’t still dreaming. I picked up my pillow and started to pummel Mark. Read More»