Recently on this Facebook page I posted about the “signboard” in our neck of town that alerts people to events. Several days ago a poster caught my eye. It showed a brown UPS truck and the words, “We Will Miss You Rick.” That night I told my family, “Rick must have decided to retire.” Everyone was sad at the news. We knew Rick had contemplated retirement, but only the week before he had told me he was going to stay on the job.
The two-legged members of our family thought the world of Rick, but the four-legged members thought he was Santa Claus. Whenever they heard the sound of the UPS truck, they raced en masse for the door. They would wait impatiently for me to let them out, and then they would race for the truck. Instead of waiting for Rick to come out with our packages, they tromped inside to see him. Rick would greet each of the three dogs with a Milk Bone and happy greeting. Whenever I’d tell him, “You are the highlight of the dogs’ day,” Rick would always say, “No, they’re the highlight of my day.”
Because I have been getting so many books sent to me this year, I probably saw Rick three times a week. I talked about my work, and gave Rick some of my novels. His smile and good cheer always brightened my day. Whenever he’d leave he always said, “You have a great day, Alan.” Rick gave my dogs their treats, and I always gave him a handful of tomatoes. He told me he loved munching them on his route, and said they were better than candy.
Yesterday we noticed a typed note affixed to the “We Will Miss You” poster. Since we hadn’t seen Rick for a few days, my wife stopped at the signboard to see what the news was. She and my daughter came home in tears. Rick died last Saturday in Victorville in a head-on car accident.
I never knew Rick’s last name. Ironically, it was Story. And so I am glad to have this chance to tell Rick Story’s story.
After hearing the news I felt the need to go to the signboard and read about Rick. The tears started falling when I saw the picture of three dogs waiting at Rick’s UPS truck. They were just like my dogs (but more polite – they were waiting outside the truck for their goodies). While standing at the signboard, two other people stopped. We all offered up memories of Rick.
One of the women said that Rick recently relayed a dream to her. “It was a great dream,” he said. “I went out into the ocean, and it was wonderful. And I called out to my family to come on in, but they said they weren’t quite ready.”
Thank you, Rick, for being a ray of light in this world. I’ll miss you. The dogs will really miss you. All this week they have been running to the door looking for you. I’ve told them you’re in the ocean, and have gone for a long swim.
- Alan Russell 3/17/2013