Rick Ryckeley's blog

Hold my hand, daddy

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Do you remember, Daddy? When I was born, you helped bring me into the world. After cleaning, you snuggled me in a soft white blanket; then placed me in the bassinet next to Mom. I wrapped one of my tiny hands around one of your fingers and held tight. And you held back – an unspoken promise never to let your little girl go.

Since looking up at you that first day, I’ve thought of the many times you’ll hold my hand and help guide me through life. Read More»

Trauma Room One

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A story must have a beginning, middle, and an end. As much as I would like to lay claim such words of wisdom, they ain’t mine. They belonged to Mrs. Newsome. She was my 10th-grade English teacher at Briarwood High, home of the Mighty Buccaneers. Although she didn’t say what order the story should be in — just that it should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Here’s the end. On the first day of summer, The Wife and I ended the day at our local hospital — in Trauma Room One. See, this time you didn’t have to read the entire story to find out what happened. Read More»

Grumpy Grandpas Daycare

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Yep, you guessed it. Haven’t even been a month in retirement, and already I’m bored. Even so, I haven’t stopped learning new things.

Trash pickup is by 7 Tuesday mornings — unless Driver Tim has truck trouble, wife trouble, kid trouble, or just trouble in general. Then trash pickup could be well past 10.

Saturday’s newspaper is not actually thrown on the lawn. The neighbor’s kid kicks it off the sidewalk so he can skateboard. Read More»

The etiquette of honking

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Well, it’s official, and it’s a record. For the third time this year, I must make my way to the dark and damp basement.

After fighting off giant spider crickets and scorpions and cutting through monster cobwebs, my soapbox will be retrieved. I shall bring it out into the light, dust it off, and once again stand upon it.
Well, to be honest, The Wife’s gonna have to help me up. I’m still recovering from a hip injury, and she doesn’t want me to fall. Read More»

Mom by the numbers

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Five was the number of children Mom had. Just how she took care of all of us will forever remain a mystery.

During my 18 years at home, she cooked over 19,656 meals, cleaned and folded over 13,000 loads of laundry and still had time to be a loving wife for over 33 years. What an amazing feat.

But we all know that moms are more than just numbers.

Countless are the times Mom was there with hugs when things went wrong. And with five kids, things were always going wrong. Read More»

Lost keys

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Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box. Of late it seems older I get, the duller my point becomes.

Luckily, The Wife still loves me. She thinks my constantly repeating my stories to her, my not being able to find anything in the refrigerator, and my always losing things are actually endearing qualities of mine. OK, didn’t think you’d believe that one, but I had to try. Read More»

One little boy

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The little boy lived on an average street with average friends. They all lived in an average small town. He had average parents who had an average number of children for the time. In fact, if asked to describe his life in a single word, the little boy would surely have replied, “Average.”

Soon fate would take an interest in the little boy. His average life would start down a path toward becoming anything but.

At 8 he was rescued by firefighters and knew what he wanted to be. By 10, he witnessed the first spacewalk on a black and white television and knew what he wanted to be. Read More»

Bad things happen

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With four boys, one girl, and Dad, Mom was always in a constant state of movement. To be honest, I really don’t remember ever seeing her sit down — except for dinner.

But even then, she sat only for a couple of minutes. That was about how long it took until one of us knocked over a drink, dropped something on the floor, or gulped down our food and asked for seconds. Read More»

Forty miles to nowhere

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It was 40 miles to nowhere. The car was running on empty and so was the driver. The detour off the main highway eventually led down a country road with little signage except one announcing a barbecue joint five miles ahead: “Next right: Bud’s Barbecue. We got the best butts and gas in town.”

Amused, the driver turned down the old road. Besides, for what lay ahead, he would need all his strength. With still another hour of traveling, a good meal would go a long way in helping him feel better. Read More»

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»

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