Rick Ryckeley's blog

The $1,200 Burger

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So who in our family just paid $1,200 for the perfect hamburger? The answer will surprise you.
Nope, it wasn’t yours truly. It was The Wife.
See, I told you it would be a surprise. So pull up a chair. Tuck a napkin under your chin. This is one juicy story you’re gonna want to sink your teeth into.

First, I have to admit something that may get me kicked out of the Man Club. The Wife and me, we’ve been grill-less for the last eight years.

Shocking, I know, but when we sold our house we also sold our grill. Eight years ago we moved to a quiet, little town. Read More»

The Trouble Bus

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The path to Mt. Olive Elementary School started back behind Neighbor Thomas’s house and wove deeply into the woods. Along the way, kids from Flamingo Street had to traverse across Cripple Creek, skirt the outer boundaries of the Haunted Forest, and scale the treacherous Rock Hill — all before reaching the safety of school grounds.
It was a perilous journey by anyone’s account. The path to the high school was very different and even more dangerous. That journey started out by a mailbox. A mailbox located at 110 Flamingo Street. Read More»

Family Man

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Join with me, if you will, and attend a birthday party already in progress. But this is no ordinary birthday party. Nor is it an ordinary man’s life.

The crowd has gathered to celebrate. We find all of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren crowded into a large room. They’re there to honor the man who has given them all so much and asked nothing in return.

Yes, Mr. Jones has been a true family man all his adult life, but that’s not what makes this birthday celebration so unique.
One person in the room knows it will be Mr. Jones’s last. Read More»

Southern Fried

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Could’ve been because I’m a professional worrier. Not satisfied worrying about things that could happen tomorrow, now I’m starting to worry about things that may not happen for two years.
Could’ve been because I was overly tired from playing with Little One all day long. How she can still have so much energy when I need a nap I guess I’ll never understand.
Then again, it could’ve been an overabundance of fried food consumed too late that kept me up staring at the clock till well past midnight.

The Wife thinks it was all three. Read More»

The Grass Killers

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Dad liked to sit on the back deck and see a lush, green wave of grass spilling down the hill. Without fail, by end of summer the green wave turned to brown and had to be replanted.
Looking back, if I was being honest, there was not one but four reasons why we had to rake the backyard every fall then replant seed. The reasons would be my three brothers and me. And what we did to kill the grass may surprise you. Read More»

Tool Belt evolution

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Years of unfinished projects and a few mishaps along the way had permanently stained and spotted the brown leather tool belt.
Well-worn front pockets sagged under the weight of their contents. On the left side, smaller pockets held every possible hand tool. On the right dangled a silver and black claw hammer, held in placed by a wide leather loop. Read More»

The cookie jar

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The rewards were too great to worry about a couple of broken bones. The prize: Mom’s red and white cookie jar filled with the greatest chocolate chips cookies on the entire planet, still warm from Saturday morning baking.
Every kid who lived on our street knew the best chocolate chip cookies came from 110 Flamingo Street.
Unfortunately, high atop the kitchen cabinet the cookie jar, and its delectable contents, remained just out of reach from any one of us.

That’s how I found myself in the kitchen that Saturday morning standing atop Older Brother Richard’s shoulders. Read More»

Take number and sit down

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Okay, I’ll admit it. When patience was handed out, I didn’t get any. I was just too impatient to wait in the long line.
So what do you get when you add together Georgia heat and humidity, skipping breakfast, and cramming a bunch of folks shoulder to shoulder into a small waiting room?
Oh, did I mention having to deal with a governmental agency (which will remain nameless for my own protection)? Sit back and take a number – you’re not gonna believe how this one turns out. It even surprised little old me. Read More»

Blank pages

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Yes, at 29, he was sure he held all the answers. He knew precisely how the world worked and his role in it.
To some he seemed confident. To others his unwavering confidence was simply arrogance. In either case, a weight was now crashing down upon him, a weight he was woefully unprepared to withstand. It buckled his knees, and if not for the hospital chair directly behind, it would have surely felled him. Read More»

Whining really does work

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Just ask any kid. Whining for what you want really does work. I learned this fact where I learned most important things — in none other than Old Mrs. Crabtree’s third grade class.
Mt. Olive Elementary School, like all schools, had standard desk sizes for a reason. First-graders are much smaller than fifth-graders. So what happens when a certain lovable third-grader whines endlessly about his desk being too small for almost an entire school year? Read More»

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