The year in 566 words


Well, we made it. The last column of the year is finally here, which means if you’re reading it, you must’ve made it too. If you didn’t and you’re still reading this, boy, do I have something to write about next week! Guess the best way to start this year-end column is at the beginning of the year.
In January President Obama was sworn back into office. The next day yours truly rushed to a Nashville hospital and stayed there for over a week.
Just about every test know to man was performed. Even a neurosurgeon was called in for consultation. I almost died. When the doctors finished reading all the test results, it was official.

No, the reelection of President Obama had nothing to do with sending me to the hospital.
The month of April two important things happened – another birthday, sudden retirement, and taxes were due. I did say two important things happened.
After 27 years of fighting every fire you can imagine, rescuing hundreds of folks from crumpled vehicles, and even retrieving a few cats down out of trees without sustaining any serious injuries, this firefighter was forced to retire — all because of injuries I received from picking a tomato. It’s one unbelievably true story. But it’s a story for another time.

May brought another life-changing event our way. The Boy became a dad for the first time. The Wife and I became Gigi and Big Papa with the arrival of Little One – our first grandchild.
Now only 6 months old, she has already wiggled and laughed her way into five stories. I now understand why they are called Grand Children. Look forward to reading about Little One throughout the New Year. She will be crawling her way into many more stories soon, I’m sure.

With September came cooler weather, leaves changing colors, and something else. We opened Grumpy Grandpa’s Daycare at our house.
Current membership consists of just one Little One, but a little bird told us some news last week. Membership will soon double in the coming year. The Boy will be a dad once again.
How this old guy will keep up with two Little Ones at the same time, I have no idea. Just thinking about it, and I need a nap. But lots of stories, I’m sure, are to follow. Should prove to be very entertaining.

October brought the Affordable Health Care Act and something else — a strong reminder why I don’t write about politics. Politics isn’t funny; neither are politicians.
Have no fear. You can read this column with confidence that neither will be written about — unless, of course, the politicians do something really ridiculous.
Finally, I’d be remiss not to thank all of you, Dear Readers. For without you reading each week, writing this column would be a silly thing to do. Thank you for the many comments throughout the last 12 years.

All the kids from Flamingo Street along with The Wife, The Boy and I will be right here each week. Hopefully we can add a smile to your face as you start the weekend.
If these stories from a simpler place and time can help you forget your troubles for a while then I’ve done my job. Here’s wishing your New Year will be full of laughter, good health, and happiness.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]