It has been 366 days since you left us. What is different…everything. What do I miss…everything.
I miss your smile. I miss your laugh. I miss the way you looked at me and that sheepish grin you had. I miss the life we built together and everything we put into building it. I miss you telling me you loved me and feeling that love. I miss how you paid attention to every story I told, no matter how boring. I miss the smell of your cologne. I miss when we accidentally dressed alike. I miss your cooking for me. I miss always having you to come home to. I miss waking up with you by my side. I miss feeling I was the most important person in your life. I miss having “ my person”.
The following is what I wrote for Rick’s service and I wanted to share it because it is the inspiration for this blog.
He remembers her as the girl in the light blue dress with a white belt. She remembers him as that cute little football player in the #26 jersey. They met in the halls of George Wythe High School. He told her he loved her on the third date. She told him he had partied too much.
He gave her his class ring the week he got it and they attended 4 proms together. He had this special talent of being able to form small bubbles on his tongue and while she was paying attention in Algebra a tiny bubble would float through the air and land on her desk. They only broke up for 24 hours…it was mutual. She stayed home with her sick grandmother, he, she found out later, went to the Hullabaloo club with his friends. She loved all things school, he loved all things fun. He came to cheerleading practice the next day and wanted to change his mind. Five years later they married.
This is Us
Rick and I planned our wedding on 3/3/73 during Spring Break. That Monday in the wee hours, I had an emergency appendectomy. I told the doctors we had to do it because the cake was baked. I got out of the hospital Pediatric unit (I was 18) on Thursday. On Friday we went to city hall and they came down to our car to sit and do our marriage license. We married that Saturday at Pinehurst Baptist Church as the rain came down. I dropped my going away dress in the mud. We spent our honeymoon night at the Petersburg Howard Johnson’s and watched Hee haw and the Grammy awards.
After the wedding, we got my sutures removed on Monday. I went back to nursing school and he went back to work at Philip Morris. We moved to a second apartment and then bought our first house on a promise of a gift from my mother. I was waiting for my board scores and if they were early we couldn’t get the house. I would be moving from 5.25 to 5.50 per hour and we wouldn’t qualify. It came on time and we moved to Huntingcreek Hills. We met countless neighbors there that may be here today and this is where we started our family.
We decided to have a child in 1978 and Amanda bursts onto the scene. Oh how happy we were to be parents. It was a learn as you go and we did just that. In 1980, Lindsey followed and we became a family of four. I worked part time and taught Lamaze classes and Rick worked at Proctor and Gamble. I would be at Chippenham Labor and Delivery and he would bring the one nursing at the time to me. It was sometimes in the wee hours, but if the swing didn’t do and they wouldn’t take a bottle, he snapped them in the car seat and headed to Chip. Tiffany followed 2 years later and our family was complete. We tried to be the best parents we could be as we learned on the job. I think we did well. I asked Rick the last day in the hospital what was his biggest accomplishment. He never hesitated but stated “my girls”
Rick always loved a grill, any kind of grill. He began to dabble in cooking and smoking meats. On Sunday nights, he would be in the kitchen for hours inventing and reinventing his BBQ sauce. For years I would return from teaching Lamaze to be the taste tester of his new creation. There was a bbq stain on the ceiling above the stove for years. This passion culminated in opening Perrins BBQ in 1995. The rest is history. The work was hard, but the countless friendships formed there through staff, customers, and the community itself was immeasurable. Many of you may have been drawn in by that smile and ended up catered. You may have gotten paid or you may have taken home a bunch of food or you may have taken home nothing at all except a big hug, a thank you, and clothes that smelled like smoke. Someone asked me once “How does he get people to work like that?” and sometimes for nothing. All I could say “It’s Rick”.
Rick loved the water and anything boating. If you asked him what he loved to do most it would be on the water. He has always dabbled in boats and boat motors since a very young man. He would buy and sell and fix up. Rick loved to fish and in the early days, we spent time on the Rappahannock and the Bay catching 2 at a time at his parents cottage in Whitestone. The love for his family was instant and we made wonderful memories eating crabs and enjoying the river with his siblings and their families. He would take us out, fix the rods, bait the hooks and take the fish off only to start over again. I don’t know how much he fished but he sure did take care of his girls. His most recent boat was his retirement dream and we named it the Linzi-Lu after our daughter and my mom. We didn’t get to do what we planned but we made the best of the time we did have, usually culminating our trip at Stevie’s the local ice cream shop. Our girls say some of their best childhood memories were on the river with him.
Rick worked for Hunt Wesson and won many sales awards. These culminated in multiple trips and gifts. We went on our first cruise with the company on the Carnival Holiday. We were in awe and loved every minute. This was followed by a cruise to Bermuda. And VIP tickets to Super Bowl 27. We were guests at the Biltmore in Hollywood, all expenses paid, had tickets to the tailgate party and attended the players party the night before. Hanging with Joe Nemuth and listening to the Four Tops, it just couldn’t get better. This followed with an addiction to cruising and we took 24 cruises together, Caribbean, Alaska, Mediterranean and Panama Canal. What a blessing to see the world together.
Rick knew things were changing and we had some hard conversations, but when I asked him what he wanted to do in the time we had left, he looked at me and said ”you know, we’ve done everything we wanted with our kids, I’m really ok. Maybe I can get to Nags Head. We planned to be in Nags Head for Mother’s Day weekend. I knew that wouldn’t happen.
Rick had this thing called “the high road”. No matter what anyone did or said to him he would seldom get upset or if he did, they would never know it. He would say he was taking the high road. He always thought the best of everyone and went the extra mile. This was in his personal life as well as business. He took care of his employees when he didn’t have it, he always made sure they got what they needed.
There are certain facts about Rick that if you knew him at all you were aware of.
2. He always had chapstick and eye drops
1. He always had a smile
3. He always had mints.
4. He used a lot of spices
5. He always made a huge mess when he cooked.
6. He loved ice cream
7. He had a tad of road rage
8. He was patriotic and loved his country.
9. He disliked most talk show hosts and all news except Fox.
10. He was a trivia nut and loved Westerns. He knew everything about the characters and would share with you whether you were interested or not.
11. He adored his family and friends more than anything.
The outpouring of love over the last six weeks has proven he had a life well lived. Rick was special and treated everyone with respect. I believe his work was done here and although I miss him with every ounce of my being, I think he had ribs to cook in heaven. I miss you more than words can say, but I know you are hanging out with Lindsey and that is a beautiful visual. I know your parents are by your side as well as Barbara and Tim and my mom. I would love to have seen your mom’s eyes when she saw you the first time.
When I told Rick his diagnosis, he said to me “Aren’t I lucky to be able to tell everyone what they mean to me, not everyone gets to do that.” What a legacy he left behind through the eyes of so many. So although I will miss him every single minute for the rest of my life, I treasure those 51 years we had, the girl in the blue dress and #26, always and forever.
Loving and being loved by Rick is how I find my way through the maze.