Rick Ryckeley's blog

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»

The mother of invention

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They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I don’t really know who “they” are, but over the years kids have grown up and invented some time-saving tools, and it was all because of their dads. Confused? Just keep reading. It’ll all make sense by the end.

The park encircled twin lakes just a mile outside our sleepy little downtown. Last weekend, The Wife and I slowly followed a pathway that wound its way around the still waters. We were in no hurry, truly a rare time in our busy lives. Read More»

The recliner wars

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With the election finally behind us, you’d think all the tension in our household would finally have subsided. No more arguments about who’s right and who’s wrong.
Unfortunately all is not peaceful in our normally peaceful corner of the world. Now there’s a far bigger battle on the horizon. And ground zero? It’s the middle of our living room. And in any battle there’s a winner and a loser. Guess which one I am. Read More»

When The Wife's Away

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Sir Isaac Newton once said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Well, for a really smart guy, and the inventor of the tastiest cookie ever, Sir Newton sure didn’t know what he was talking about when it came to my dad.

For every action I took doing something I thought was a good idea, it created a much bigger reaction from my dad when he finally found out — especially if he and Mom were gone and left us kids alone for the day with nothing to do. Read More»

Calling all teenagers

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For all the parents out there who think teenagers don’t listen to a word you say, you’re right – they don’t. For all the teenagers out there who think parents don’t understand anything you say, you’re right also. So if parents and teenagers don’t listen to each other, who should they listen to? Why, the old guy who writes the newspaper column, of course.

Last Friday, The wife and I ventured out to a local restaurant for a rare date night. This was fortunate for me for two reasons: time with The Wife is always enjoyable and I didn’t have a topic for this week’s column. Now I do. Read More»

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