Tag Archives: falling down

Excerpt from Chapter 6 – College Drowned, er, Bound

rick-1969-smIn September, Angela [my girlfriend and soon to be fiancée] began her senior year at Immaculate Conception, and I began my freshman year at Memphis State University as a pre-med student. I decided my lack of mechanical skills wouldn’t be a detriment, because I had no intention of becoming a surgeon. Practicing medicine, in the most blood-free, death-free specialty I could find, seemed at least as good a job as selling insurance or being an accountant. I didn’t particularly want to be a doctor; I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know any full-time writers, and it didn’t occur to me to ask the university admissions counselor. Writing seemed to be frivolous, risky, and low paying, so I packed my dreams of literary glory away. Medicine would have to do. Continue reading


Excerpt from Chapter 5 – The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t

2015-05-14_11-58-56Normally, Dad’s drinking was quiet and subdued, but sometimes there was unexpected drama. At Christmas, when I was sixteen, Dad and I went shopping for a Christmas tree. Each year, this was a major production and massive effort on Dad’s part. He loved Christmas more than anyone I knew. Planning and searching for just the right tree was a welcomed ritual for him. Because we placed the tree in our den, the tree had to be just right. Our den was large and beautiful; sixteen feet by thirty-two feet, and it had a twelve-foot high ceiling. Its walls were planks of pecky cypress and stained a dark, red oak color. Each of the giant beams that spanned the ceiling had been hand-hewed by Dad. The den had a 14-foot long bar made of red oak and a solid brass foot rail. The den was featured in several newspapers and magazines, and when Mom was questioned about the solid brass foot rail, ever frugal, she replied, “Had we known in advance the price of brass, we might have used something cheaper—like gold.” Continue reading

Excerpt from Chapter 5 – New School

registrationIn the fall of 1965, Ricky Richardson went away forever. I decided that “Ricky” was a childish and immature name for a diminutive boy. I was a man, according to Dad and me, and I was starting high school. Not wanting to be called Ricky anymore, I dropped the “y” and I became Rick. It took a while for my family and friends to get used to the name change. I had to remind them often. “My name is Rick,” I said. “R-I-C-K… RICK.” Dad and my newer friends had no problem with my new name. Mom and Kriste would stop calling me Ricky about the time I turned forty. Continue reading