In case y’all don’t know me, I’m Rick.
Now I’ve been here before. Lots and lots of times. Right here in this very space. But I’ve been gone for a while and, to tell you the truth, I’ve missed being here.
Believe it or not I began my columnist career here way back in the early 90’s. My very first column in the Bartlett Express, or in any paper for that matter, dealt with the West Memphis kids murders. I thought about it while jogging one evening and when I came home I wrote it out.
I sent it to the Express and then didn’t give it too much thought afterwards. But then they called and said they wanted it to print it in the guest columnist spot.
I was, to put it mildly, stunned. And extremely excited.
For me, seeing my words in print was exhilarating. And addictive. I had to have more. And so I began sending in more columns and, more often than not, they were printed.
Either I could write or the Express needed to fill up space.
Over the years I learned a few things. I learned to leave politics and religion alone. I began to lean on the every day things that made life fun, interesting and poignant. I focused on family and friends. And for the most part I made living in Bartlett a focal point.
Partly because my family and I have lived in this city for the majority of the 33 years I have been married to my wife, Susie. And also because this is such a great city to live in and raise a family in. I should know. All four of my children grew up here.
I even have Mayor Keith McDonald’s personal cell phone number. We’re on a first name basis. He calls me Rick and I call him Mayor. He used to bring me his clothes when I was in the drycleaning business. He’s told me on many occasions that he wouldn’t have been elected the first time if I hadn’t made him look so good.
Okay, I made that last part up. But I really do have his number.
Since they’re not paying me to write this, I have a day job. I serve court papers for Shelby County. For those of you who I have served, most likely before 6 AM, I apologize, and please understand I’m just doing my job. Having one time been in dire financial shape myself, I am able to empathize with every person I serve. So when I say, “Good luck. I hope things work out.” I really mean it.
I play baritone horn with The Bartlett Community Concert Band and have done so since day one of the band’s existence, some 22 years ago. We are truly a family and we welcome anyone and everyone to join our family. Log onto bartlettcommunityband.org and learn more. It’s an absolute blast, simple as that.
As I said earlier, I have four children. There’s only one left in the house, Scotty, who’s now almost 18. I am this close to my empty nest. My other two sons are both in the service. Ricky is a Marine in Okinawa with three of my grandchildren. My middle son, Sean, will leave for Germany in August for four years. Ricky tells pilots when they can take off and land and Sean is Special Forces in the Air Force. Both have served combat tours.
My daughter, Lisa, is the proud mother of my newest grandchild, Isabella, now just barely four months old. Little Izzy is 10 or 12 pounds of bouncing baby girl that is more addictive than any drug on the planet. She had me from day one, so much so that, right after I had seen her for the first time, when I returned to the waiting room, I made the following announcement:
“May I have your attention please? Just so y’all know, the cutest baby of the day has already been born. I know you’re all disappointed but you can still get second place.”
I’m her favorite, clearly. Her head fits perfectly on my left shoulder. I instantly make her smile. I’m not actually looking forward to her talking. Because, when she does, she’ll say:
“Grampa, will you….?” Yes I will.
“Grampa, can I,,,?” Yes you can.
“Grampa, I love you.”
Oh my, I better end this column right here.
The words are getting a little blurry.