Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day-Not the same

Today is Opening Day 2008. Not the same for me this year. It used to be one of Ricky's favorite days. Win or lose, I would hear from him. Indians just scored three runs in the 8th with a bases loaded double from Casey Blake. Ricky would have loved that. Score now Indians 10, White Sox 7.

We went to the home opener in 1982. It had snowed for several days and was cold this Saturday at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. It was a stadium that had a special air about it. You could smell it from a ways back. But it did have one thing. Major League Baseball.

It was the Cleveland Indians versus the Texas Rangers. The Indians were a very woeful team in those days. Some seasons they had decent pitching and no hitting. Other seasons they had fairly good hitting and no pitching. Front office would usually trade one for another. Those days the Indians were the farm team for the rest of baseball.

Texas won that game that day 8-3. Thank you The thing I do remember in the game was Buddy Bell hit two home runs that day. I also remember the fans were, for the most part, very boorish. As I had mentioned before, it had been snowing in the days preceding this ball game. The fans started getting bored and threw snowballs in the stands. I was sitting beneath a ramp going to the upper deck. Someone dropped a very cold cup of beer. I know it was cold because it hit me.

Sports talk show host Pete Franklin got on the fans the following week for relentlessly getting on Indians first baseman Andre Thornton. They were booing Thornton and chanting "We want Joe" meaning Joe Charboneau, already washed up 1980 American League Rookie of the Year.
Yeah, the tribe lost the game. I rode the rapid back to my parent's house cold, wet, and smelling of beer. But we were there for opening day.

Click here for box score of 1982 Opening Day, Cleveland Indians vs Texas Rangers.

Oh, yeah. Final score for 2008 Opening Day-Cleveland Indians 10, Chicago White Sox 8..

I like Diamond because......

With winter over and days longer we can all get more exercise in. That, along with eating right can help us all lose some pounds and start to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

A blog I have notice increase in popularity among those I pay regular visits to is called "A Day in the Zone." The author of this blog, Diamond, is a young mother who is trying to lose weight and is bringing us all along for the journey in hopes that we join her in this more than worthy cause.

One thing Diamond and I have in common is we are both quality inspectors. We both get a good deal of walking in during the day but we also get a more than ample amount of sitting time.

I have sent people Diamond's way in the past and they have either left favorable remarks on her blog, or here. The reason the remarks are left is because she has a quality product there(maybe ISO 9002) There is something for everybody there. She gives weight loss tips and bargins she has found. We also get a peek into her personal life.

Lately Diamond's efforts haven't given her the results she desires, so she's decided to make an adjustment in the program she is following. Go on over to "A Day in the Zone" and cheer her on. I know from past experience that Diamond will come over and do the same for you.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Evil Big Box Store(tm) explained

Most people who are regular readers of this blog know when I use the term Evil Big Box Store(tm), I am referring to Wal*Mart Supercenter. Most people also realize that I do not use this term with any malice. I use it as a tongue in cheek reference.

It seems that every time Wal*Mart plans to open a new store, there is always predictions of doom and gloom. It will bring on mass unemployment, and close establishments that have been in business since the Mayflower docked. Oh yeah, it will also cause teenagers to have acne.

When the Wadsworth, Ohio Wal*Mart Supercenter was getting ready to open, the publisher of the free weekly newspaper in our area, The Post, wrote a series of columns criticizing the decision made by Wal*Mart to build a supercenter in that area. He told of mom and pop stores closing because they couldn't afford to compete. He also said that he wouldn't shop at Wal*Mart, and would patronize the smaller, independently owned businesses. That's all well and good, and that's his prerogative. Not everybody can afford to do that though.

Anyway, I had that in mind when I started to use the term Evil Big Box Store. And lately, I have started using the store numbers, so the Wadsworth, Ohio Wal*Mart Supercenter is now Evil Big Box Store #2966.

I am a former Wal*Mart employee. I worked at the Wooster, Ohio store, now Evil Big Box Store #1812. I worked there on Fridays and Saturdays from September, 1996 to September, 1998, and enjoyed my time there.

Of course when I worked there, we called the store Wally World.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Good Eats, WIXYgrad Style

For all those who are curious about what the rage is about Barberton chicken, as a public service, I will provide you with a link to the Barberton Magics website. Here you will find the recipes for the chicken, hot sauce and cole slaw pictured in the post about our gathering last night.

There is even a recipe for a healthy alternative to the traditional recipe for the chicken, for those not willing to throw caution to the wind.

bon appetit

As you all can see....

I am slowly, but surely getting my "mojo" back. I should be back to visiting and commenting on all the blogs again on a regular basis very soon.

It's been a very long two months, but I made it through, thanks in a large part to most of the people who are regular readers of these words. Many things that can be seen in my comments as well as other blogs along with quite a few behind the scenes things done for me have been key to me getting to this point.

Once again thank all of you. And let's continue to pray for one another.

Joe Tait: Larger than life in more ways than one

I think every boy growing up in Northeast Ohio since the 1970's who has any aspirations of sports broadasting has wanted to be Joe Tait.

Joe has been the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers since their inception in 1971. Along the way he has had to describe a lot of lousy basketball, but he has been able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear many times. Many of us in our late forties on up can remember calls like "Bobby Smith with the ball. To the line, to the lane. BINGO!"

We can also remember many times when Joe has taken referees to task on their calls, and taken team management to task on some of their decisions.

Instead of me doing a hack job of a post, I will give a couple of links to some good articles/posts which I have read in the past few days.

Tim Lones, in Cleveland Classic Media, gives his account here.

Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who by the way will become a featured link in both of my blogs in the next few days, wrote, as usual, a great article on Joe's career.

You folks out of my home area who may be sports fans will see why we are proud to call Joe Tait one of our own.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

WIXY's Gone Bananas meets Media Matters

In a meeting weeks in the making, three members of the blogging underground have met at Milich's Village Inn, 4444 Cleveland Massillon Road, Norton, Ohio.

74WIXYgrad, of WIXY's Gone Bananas fame, Struke, of Media Matters Fame, and WZZP, all around good guy, and frequent visitor of many blogs, along with Mrs74WIXYgrad, all had a good time while enjoying a dinner of the succulent fried chicken which has earned Milich's the reputation of having some of the best chicken around.

During this evening's dinner, a call was made to Liquid, of Liquid Illuzion fame. I think she wants to be here for the next blogger's convention.

Here is a picture of the fare we enjoyed at the Village Inn; Chicken, french fries, cole slaw, and hot sauce, which is actually spanish rice with an attitude.

Ask and ye shall receive!

PILGRIM IS BACK. After an absence of a month, our friend from New Brunswick, Pilgrim is back at the keyboard, and working to catch up with all of us.

Welcome back good friend!

Message to Pilgrim

To one of the best friends of most of the people on my blogroll:

We hope you are taking care of matters at hand and everything is going ok. We all miss your insights and hope you come back soon.

We all know you are praying for us and I am praying for you too.

Yours in Christ,

PS Thank you for the comment you left on one of the posts I wrote in tribute to my brother.

If We Are The Body

I posted this several months ago on Seek Him First. I think that this video should be viewed by all as a message that we should be willing to reach out to everybody.

I would like to thank Liquid for taking the initiative of posting similar messages.

Click pause on the music player so you can view the video.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Okay, so it worked

This past October I went to the doctor and got a flu shot, as recommended by my primary care physician. I am now here to say that it worked. I was off work today because I have the flu. Of course compared to everything else that has been happening, I'd say this was minor.

I did have to go over to Evil Big Box Store #2966 to get some items. After I left there I went to take some pictures of this mailbox, that I've seen for years, but not really noticed until I made the acquaintance of Liquid. I took it with her in mind. I just don't have her eye for being able to find beauty in junk. If I did, I'd be taking pictures of the WIXYmobile everyday.

To me this picture says, "Honey throw a load in the washer, and while you're out there, check the mail."

Music player now on other blog

On occasion, I have heard from people regarding the music player on my blog, and it's lack sometimes of Christian music. I now have added a music player on my faith based blog, "Seek Him First." the player there will have only Christian music. I will not eliminate the praise and worship music here, but you can go there to hear more of it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My youth slipping away

Cruising the radio message boards today, I was hit with the loss of another part of my life. This time it wasn't a relative. Not even anyone I ever met. John Larsh, also known as Jack Armstrong, or Big Jack, a late evening dsc jockey on WIXY/1260 and WKYC/1100 in the mid 60's passed away this past Saturday.

I'm sure there will be much written about him and even more memories posted on the boards, as he touched many lives while on the airwaves.

My main memory was his boisterous delivery. I also think he set a record for most words said in a minute.

I remember him harrassing his newsman, Ken Courtright, right before the news. The station was owned and operated by NBC, and in those days the stations took their news more seriously. I mentioned that in the comment section of Ohio Media Watch about a year or so ago and Alan Courtright, Ken's son, sent me a nice email telling me about his(Alan) sitting in the studio when the harrassing happened. It was all done in good fun.

But the thing that us Northeast Ohioians will remember will be this: He called himself:


John Larsh, Rest in peace.

A WIXY's Gone Bananas public service announcement

A while back I wrote in my "I like Sindi because....." post that she makes a mean pot of potato soup. When I wrote that there were inquiries in my comment section about obtaining the recipe. She responded that she didn't have a recipe per say, but went into the Life is a Roller Coaster test kitchen and paid special attention as she cooked a special pot for her family. She even posted pictures of this culinary delight. In the post, Sindi gives variations by other members of the Terre Haute gang and assures us that it's all good.

If you are now hungry, click here, and in Sindi's words he he he he he. And keep in mind, all ingredients can be purchased at your local Evil Big Box Store. Folks in Terre Haute can go to Evil Big Box Store #4235 or #1310.

Question for Kasper: Do you still have to do the squiggily?

Cliff Note:The link is fixed and you will now get to Sindi's post by clicking there or here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm Looking Ahead!

I started out writing a "poor, poor Cliff" post. I deleted it. I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself. I'm sure most of you are tired of it too.

Things at the WIXYranch have pretty much hit rock bottom. So unless someone is down here with a jackhammer, all I can say is the only direction I can go is up.

Today is Easter, a day that is a celebration of newness of life. Opening day is next week. Warm weather will be here soon and I can ride my bicycle soon. I need to, and I will, drop some pounds. I will also write about it.

You can also look for some springtime in Wayne County, Ohio photos here.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Are you all with me?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Better than we deserve

Anyone who listens to Dave Ramsey has heard Dave say when asked how he's doing, "I am better than I deserve."

Anyone who has read my blog in the past few months has caught me saying "Why me Lord?"

I was going to take some time away from the keyboard, as I was worried that I was going to drive my readers away because of my tales of woe, especially after I sent out an email to one of my dearest friends which ended with the words "My life sucks." My wife had called me and told me she was having chest pains and shortness of breath, which ended up being pulled muscles in her chest wall.

I've been wondering why my life has been going the way it has in the past few months. I guess I've been attending the wrong church. I need to go to one where the pastor can stand in the pulpit and tell me I'm scum, but I digress.

In my self pity this morning, I'm reminded as to why we observe this day, Good Friday. We observe this day because of what Jesus did for us.

Jesus, come to this world to suffer what we should have suffered. I got ticketed last month for something I didn't think was right, but was not in error. Jesus was accused of many things He never did. He was defenseless when brought in front of a a judge during an illegal trial.

Jesus was slapped, spit upon, had his beard plucked out. He was stripped naked and whipped with a cat o nine tails 39 times. the flesh was ripped from His back. He was brought before Pontious Pilate, who ended up doing what was popular over what was right.

He was hung on a cross in front of the false accusers. His friends all left His presence. One of His friends denied three times he ever knew Him.

Jesus is God in the flesh. He come to Earth to suffer for what he didn't deserve in order for those who accept this sacrifice not to get what we do deserve.

There is no way I could suffer the way my Lord did. How about you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another day in paradise

Okay, so I am working today while it's raining outside. How do I know that? It's also raining inside. Today was also the day for our monthly safety class, which is mandated by whomever does this in the federal government. The good thing about this is it is an hour away from the job. The bad thing about this it takes an otherwise productive hour out of my life. I do get some exercise during this, though. My neck gets a good workout during these meetings where we get to watch videos that we watch so often that we can say the dialog. These are important but I wish we could at least see them in a room that has a little better circulation.

Time for work to end. I get to the parking out and the weather is betwixt and between. It doesn't know if it wants to rain or snow. Ah, March in Northeast Ohio.

While in the WIXYmobile, I notice an idiot light flashing on my dash. I need oil, so off to Evil Big Box Store #2966. While there I also got a Mrs74WIXYgrad survival kit-Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and a bouquet of flowers. Next off to Circle K for some gas as I was sucking fumes, which gave me the opportunity to put the oil purchased at afore mentioned #2966. I still had to walk in the yuck to go into the store to wash the oil off my hands, which leads me to my next question:

If the sign in the restroom says "Employees must wash hands," and I end up washing my own hands, it's false advertising?

I had to get a nonsense post out of my system. Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I like Amel because....

Bear with me as it's been 2 weeks since I've done one of these posts.

I got to know Amel through the Terre Haute gang. Amel, however, doesn't live within walking distance of Terre Haute. She lives in Finland and was the poster that made my blog intercontinental. She used to be the youngest one on my blogroll until a certain daughter of mine decided to blog away.

Amel came to Finland, which is where some of my ancestors came from, by way of Indonesia. She has been in the land of all too cold for a little over a year now. She first come my way, reading my Seek Him First blog and told me she likes to read the faith based blogs because she likes to learn from them. She is also one whom I forward my Turning Point devotionals to right after I receive them every day, and has returned very nice comments about how she needed that.

Amel is very devoted to her husband Arttu, as he is quite often a subject of her posts. She also loves the family she has married into and shows love and respect for her parents.

Amel has a way of making a trip to the market sound like the adventure of a lifetime, seasonimg it with her sense of humor and plenty of laughter(he he he he he).

If you haven't read Amel's Realm, I suggest you go on over and give it a read. She has a habit of making you feel like a long lost friend.

I like all of you because......

The last two weeks have been more bearable because of all of you. From the first email from Brenda and the first response from YEKIMI, to all the emails, responses on my posts and signing of the guest book, you have all provided comfort to me and my family.

I also want to thank everybody who stopped here in the past two weeks and got to know my brother and reminded me that he was a very special guy. There is still an empty space in all our lives, but it's good to know that the muse allowed me to share Ricky with the blogosphere.

I want to thank all those who left a comment or sent an email encouraging me to keep posting about Ricky.

From the bottom of my heart....And from me and my family.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Trying to Change Routines

First, I want to give a very heart felt thank you to those who left comments on the posts of the last two weeks. Kathy and I miss Ricky, but I feel that he was assisting me in my blogging for the past 13 days. I wish everybody who reads my words could have met my brother.

Since most of the posts were personal, most of my custom language e.g. WIXYmobile, Mrs74WIXYgrad, WIXYjr., etc were absent in my stories. I'm hoping to slide back into my persona. And WIXYcam photos may make their appearance again this week.

Congratulations to Liquid for posting number 1000. Leave it to the blue one to do it twice as good as me. She's one tough cookie.

And while I'm at it and seeing it's St. Patrick's Day, congratulations to our own green nurse, Bella for post number 100. And another congratulations to our Italian Leprechaun for passing her certification exam for Inpatient Obstectrics.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tribute from Lisa Porter

Lisa Porter was one of the supervisors at Autumnwood, the nursing facility where Ricky was living the last four years of his life. She was on medical leave when she received the news on March 4 that Ricky had passed away. The following was a letter that she was going to read at the memorial service that had been scheduled last Saturday, March 8. We had to postpone the memorial because of the blizzard that crippled the area last Saturday.

Ricky was my friend and buddy. My bestest buddy at Autumnwood. He was special. He considered me his confidant and guardian angel.

We both loved the Cleveland Indians and many evenings I would fins myself after I clocked out sitting on the edge of his bed rooting for our beloved Indians to take the win.

We had many conversations about his life, present and past. His memory simply amazed me. He remembered his complete family down to nieces and nephews birthdates and years they were born. Sometimes even the day.He remembered when he got sick and the exact time he was no longer able to walk.

Rick was compassionate and caring. He looked out for his roommate. Back in September, on Rick's birthdate, I handed him a menu. I told him, "you pick out anything you want for dinner,'my treat'." He chose the biggest burger on the menu, large fries and a large chocolate malt. Bless his heart. He said to me, "Lisa please take some of this malt and give it to my roommate."

Ricky always kept to himself to avoid any confrontations. And if there was to be a confrontation, and he screamed and yelled, the nurses and aides would come to me, for he trusted me and I could understand him and calm him. I often became defensive towards the person who upset him and would address that too.

I loved Rick, I enjoyed him. As I said he was very very special to me. Unfortunately I was and am still on L.O.A. and when I return to work I will miss him horribly. I will miss the daily (everyday) 4:15 visits to my office after he got off work. I will miss our conversations and I will miss Opening Day when all of our fun and enjoyment usually started for the Tribe season.

I know he is in a better place, but it will take me time to accept that. Call me selfish but I will miss him for a very long time.
Lisa Porter

I(Cliff) can attest to the fact that Lisa looked out for Ricky. Our family will be eternally grateful for the care she made sure Ricky got.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


After Mom passed, it was suggested that we petition the court for guardianship of Ricky. Since my sister lived with us, all our attorney needed to do was send a registered letter to our half brother, whom I hadn't seen since 1999. He signed for the letter, but never responded, so the path was clear.

The day of the hearing, we went to court in Wooster, and everything there went smooth. The judge asked Ricky if there was anything he wanted to say, and Ricky asked "Are we done?" The judge said yes, and Ricky said "Good. I want to go to Wal*Mart."

There were three things Ricky never forgot: People's ages, their birthdays, or their phone number. Of course, he could dial our number in his sleep. There were three numbers we never gave him, our cell phone numbers and my work number. He would call the house whenever he needed anything. One time he called our house, got the answering machine and left a two word message-"Oh sh*t." This was while mom was still alive, and she got as big a laugh as the rest of us. Other times he would call the house while we were gone and leave a message long enough that the machine would cut him off, call back and finish it.

And of course if he wanted to talk sports, he would want to talk to me. If he wanted to talk about the workshop, Deirdre would be the one he would want. If he wanted to complain about the care he was receiving, then he specifically ask for Kathy.

At the nursing home an employee named Lisa was assigned as his "Guardian Angel." Ricky's first stop after getting back from workshop would be Lisa's office. Next stop would be the telephone to call us. Many there took a liking to him. And you could tell if he was watching his cartoons when you walked by the reception desk. Everybody enjoyed his laugh. His favorite cartoon was Sponge Bob Squarepants. Ricky would get Spongebob toys from many of the workers there.

Our mother passed away Palm Sunday, 2004. The folks who worked his wing all got together and put an Easter basket together for Ricky, to help try to ease the pain of him losing his mom. Very rare to have to help a nursing home resident cope with losing a parent.

When Ricky first got to Autumnwood, he still could not keep a roommate, so for much of his first year there he was in a room by himself and pretty much loving it. We had told him that we were coming over to celebrate his birthday with him in 2004, which fell on a Saturday that year. Ricky called the house that Friday and told us we couldn't have his birthday party because he now had a roommate. His new roomate was one who was born normal, and led a normal life into adulthood. He got into a fight and ended up bedridden, with just the use of his left arm. He communicated with a series of sounds, such as eeeeeeee and wooooo. He was loud, but he was very pleasant. We all took a liking to him and Ricky became protective of him. Both guys liked to look at pictures from the swimsuit issue of SI, so Ricky would go over to his roomate's bed with his copy and they would both enjoy it together. the roomate would say ooooooooooo heh heh, and ricky would laugh at it. He ended up being Ricky's roommate for the rest of the time.

Ricky and his roomate got haircuts on the same day once. both of them got "scalped," which was the way Ricky wanted his hair most of the time. He called the house and told us that they looked like brothers. Only thing was, his roommate was black.

I left the roommate's name out for confidentiality reasons.

If Ricky would get agitated, I would sometimes have some of the residents come up to me soon after I walked through the door to tell me why. they would also tell me about Ricky going around with his joke books trying to humor others. We never heard a bad report about the home. It wasn't the perfect place, but to be perfect, Autumnwood would have to hire all perfect employees and only take in perfect residents. Not gonna happen. Anywhere. The workers would always have Ricky ready when we went there to take him to the store or activities. Lisa volunteered to bring him to our daughter, Sylva's wedding last summer.

Ricky lived there until last week when he went home to be with the Lord. As far as the care Ricky had gotten, I have no complaints. I would recommend Autumnwood to anybody.

Next: More tributes from those around him.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tribute from a bus driver

This is a poem written by Rita Flinn, who drove the bus to Nick Amster workshop in Wooster, Ohio. Ricky looked forward to boarding the bus for workshop every day.

Time for a repost

I am reposting my Mother's Day post from last year, as I see it fit to insert it here, after my last post. I really looked up to my mom and still do as she had many challenges in her life, but never gave up. This post was originally written on May 13, 2007.

For the fourth year running, I have been unable to wish my mom a happy Mother's Day, as she passed away in April, 2004. But I did take the mother of my children out for dinner last night and made dinner today-ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, and biscuits.

As some are aware, I do like to watch NASCAR. One thing I've admired about NASCAR is that they have not raced on Mother's Day, but today is different as it rained last night and postponed it until today. Today, the command to start was given by 21 of the driver's mothers.

Memories of my own mother: To your left is a picture of me with my mother on my wedding day in 1979. I've made the comment before that my mom was my biggest fan. She gave me a lot of support for all my endeavors. My mom didn't have the easiest of lives either. Her parents were both alcoholics, and I probably wouldn't be too far wrong by saying that my grandfather was the town drunk. She didn't have too good a reputation in her early twenties, and her first husband beat her. Heredity hasn't been too fair either as our family has been affected by a condition known as Neurofibromatosis. My younger brother and sister both had epileptic seizures as a result of it. She took care of my brother until 1999 when they finally put him in a nursing home. The seizures also took an effect on my sister's mental state, and we now take care of her.

To my mom her most important job was to be our mom, and that kept her going after my dad passed away. She knew my interests and and tried to find things to give me pertaining to them. In fact the day she died we had plans to watch the race together. Mom wanted to make sure someone would be there to take care of my sister and brother, and when she realized they would be taken care of, Mom was at peace.

Update:As I was listening to the game where the Tribe snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, I remembered when Nick Mileti was the "owner" of the Indians. On Mother's Day one year, he honored moms in attendance by giving them all Right Guard deodorant. That really stunk.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Moving to Rittman

My dad passed away September 13, 2000. After this I helped my mom take care of things as far as decision making was, including going to plan meetings for Ricky. In 2002, the workers at the home where he was living at the time was asking what they could do for Ricky, as he was getting bored with the everyday life in the nursing home. I had worked at a facility which housed severe to profound mentally retarded individuals for 12 years, so I had a suggestion based on my experience.

I suggested that employment at a sheltered workshop be looked into. Ricky was then placed at Parma Adult Workshop and not only did he have something to do during the week, but he got a small paycheck as well. He used to get upset when there was no work to do, but got to interact with others closer to his age. everything worked well until the fall of 2003.

My mother's health was gradually deteriorating. I had gone with her to the doctor's one day. The doctor called me into the hall and told me that she didn't have too long to live, a fact my mother already knew. At the time she was living over 40 miles from me and I was the only one she trusted so when she had to go to the emergency facility she called me. Kathy and I then looked into a house she could rent in Rittman so if she needed me I would only would be minutes away. I moved her there October 1, 2003.

Ricky was still 30 miles away and wasn't happy about it. He showed this with his behavior. He called our house and told us that he was bad and grounded himself and wouldn't go to workshop. Kathy once again came to the rescue. She contacted the two nursing facilities in Rittman and was able to get him a bed at Autumn Extended Care facility, which was 1/2 mile from where my mother was staying. We moved Ricky there and as he was being examined by the staff, there was one thing repeated by the workers: He's cute. I'm sure Ricky ate that up.

The following Monday, I took mom there and she said that she liked the facility. That was important to me. I told my mother when she called me at 4am to come over to fix her concentrator, which gave her oxygen to breathe, that as long as the Bible contains the words "Honor thy mother and father," I would be there for her.

That Thanksgiving, we took Ricky to our mother's house for dinner. Mom loved having him there. We all spent Christmas Eve at Autumnwood. Our mother's health started taking a turn for the worse in early February. Hospice then took over health care. March 7, was Mom's 76th birthday and we all gathered at her house for a birthday party. April 4, she left this life. Mom was always concerned who would take care of Richard and Deirdre. Kathy and I told her that we would, and she died peacefully knowing that they would be fine.

Like I said in a previous post, Kathy pulled strings to get Ricky into the Nick Amster Workshop in Wooster, Ohio along with our sister Deirdre, whose seizures had disabled her from outside employment.

Ricky continued to touch those around us...

Next: Ricky's Legacy

Monday, March 10, 2008

A laugh that nobody will ever forget

Right after Ricky's 41st birthday my parents made a very difficult, but necessary decision. They could no longer take care of him, so Ricky was placed in a nursing home. A few were checked out and eventually he was placed in one in North Royalton, Ohio. Ricky was upset about it at first, but found out he had more freedom to move around than what he had while at home. He had some activities to participate in and people he could visit with. And mom and Deirdre went to visit about 2-3 times a week.

One more thing he was given after he got there was a TV/VCR combo, along with some of his tapes from home. And Ricky, being the creature of habit he was, always watched his Saturday morning cartoons. the staff soon become familiar with his laugh which, as it always had been, was a very loud, very hearty laugh. Mom come to visit one day and checked in at the nurses station and was told "Your son really enjoys his cartoons, doesn't he?"

Shortly after the move to the home, Ricky had some seizures, and the nursing home was unsure on how to handle them, so he was sent to the hospital, where he was placed in intensive care. I heard about this from my dad and I called the hospital. I talked to one of the nurses who told me that he was walking past Ricky's room and heard him laughing very loud. Upon investigation, Ricky was in there watching Drew Carey, and the nurse had two laughs from Drew and from Ricky.

My mom and Deirdre were very involved with supplying Ricky with his needs, but mom's health was starting to deteriorate, as the COPD was progressing. My dad passed away within a year of Ricky's admission into the home, so I was starting to assist my mom with some of the decision making.

Shortly after my dad passed away, Kathy started going up to the home and taking Ricky to Wal Mart to get him clothes and personal supplies with money from Ricky's account. My mother would also bring him things to make his life as comfortable as possible. One of the things that kept my mom going was that she was allowed to be our mom. But Kathy and I gradually did more for Ricky while I made it clear that my mom was the final decision maker.

One difficulty Ricky had going into a nursing home at the age of 41 was finding a roommate that was compatible with him, as most others there were in their 70's or 80's. He spent most of his time in North Royalton in a room by himself.

After admission to the nursing home, my mom decided to donate stuffed animals, which seemed to be growing wild around her house to the facility. Ricky would play bingo and win back some of the toys, which he would give back to mom. He would win other things that he would give away to others in the family. Once again always thinking about others.

As mom's health got worse, I moved her to Rittman, within 2 miles of our home. A few weeks later, Ricky was also moved to a facility in Rittman called Autumnwood.

Next: Moving to Rittman.

This day in history-1979

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary. I can tie this into my current story line by saying that Kathy had become both a friend and a guardian angel as well as a sister in law to Ricky over the years.

Ricky liked her first and foremost, because she was my wife. Kathy would take time to listen to what Ricky had to say when others were too busy for him.

Ricky knew that Kathy liked iced tea. One time when he knew that we were coming up for a holiday cookout, he made 27 gallons of sun tea. I guess he was concerned we would run out. Ricky always made Kathy feel welcome when we come up.

In Ricky's later years, Kathy would look out for Ricky's needs and sometimes go to the nursing home and take him to Wal-Mart for whatever he would want or need. There were times after we were legal guardians that one of us would have to go to an appointment for him or on occasion, go to the emergency room to meet the ambulance. One time Kathy got to the hospital, back to Ricky's room and he told the nurse "This is my sister in law, Kathy. She's 46."

Kathy arranged the transfer of Ricky from one nursing home to another when I moved my mother closer to us so we could attend to her needs. She also pulled strings to get him into sheltered workshop. When Ricky was asked a question about himself that he could not answer, his response would always be, "Ask Kathy."

If Ricky would have heroes in the last few years of his life, Kathy would definitely be one of them.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Three weeks in ICU, never the same again

Ricky had always been a very active person, sometimes perpetual motion personified. I had eventually moved to Rittman and was 40 miles away from the rest of the family, with my own growing family to raise. My older and younger sister also lived at home, so they took care of Ricky's needs. Bev also had two children living there, so Deirdre, our younger sister took care of Ricky's needs. But Deirdre started having seizures too. At the time they were somewhat manageable. Deirdre also had a part time job at K-Mart.

Ricky had plenty of people to take care of him, and my mom would make sure he had all he wanted. As I posted on Seek Him First, he loved going to church, and folks from the church took him to baseball games and movies.

In August, 1986, things will change for Ricky. I will give my view. My two girls were spending the night with my parents at their camper, which was at Sleepy Hollow Lake, in Brunswick. That afternoon after I got home from work, Kathy and I along with Adam, who was less than a year old at the time went to Brunswick to get the girls. We were greeted by my dad, who handed me a prescription bottle and some money. He told me to take the money and pills to my mom, who was back in Cleveland. The night before at home, Ricky went into a seizure while throwing up, aspirated on the vomit and was now in intensive care. He wasn't expected to live the night. I went there and saw my brother attached to tubes and wires. The only way he could communicate was by facial expressions. I was scared. I went from the hospital to my parents house and on the way stopped at a tent revival. I was using crutches to walk, but left the crutches in my car as I didn't want prayer at the time. I asked for prayer and told the group why and they started intercessed loudly on Ricky's behalf. After I left there I saw a billboard that said, "A family that prays together, stays together." How appropriate!

After the incident, Ricky's gross motor abilities gradually diminished. My mom and older sister would take of his daily needs as they both had experience as nursing home workers. My parents wanted to keep Ricky home as long as possible. He was receiving SSI and Medicaid, so it wasn't a big burden financially on the family, but he did need constant care, as he couldn't up and get anything that he would need. My family provided him with all his needs and many of his wants. He watched his beloved Cleveland teams whenever he had the chance and was able to talk sports with anybody and educate most people on stats.

Last thing my mother wanted was to put Ricky in a nursing home. She thought he would die in days if he had to go to any assisted nursing center. Mom and Bev were able to see to all his health care needs. Bev had promised mom that she would take care of Ricky after my parents were gone. But we never know what will happen tomorrow.

September, 1996: Bev was at work when she started losing her balance. She was taken to the hospital and eventually diagnosed with brain cancer. Less than six months later, she lost her battle and passed from this life.

My father was suffering from congestive heart failure and was unable to assist with Ricky's care. Mom and Deirdre did all they could, but mom was starting to suffer with COPD. September, 1999, right after Ricky's 41st birthday, my parents made the decision they were trying to put off for years.

Next: March 10, 1979

Attention Cleveland Indians

Here is one of your angels in the outfield!

Greetings from Snowy Rittman, Ohio

These are the scenes that I saw looking out my door this morning. We got slammed overnight. We knew this was coming, but I was hoping that this would be the storm that Cincinnati, or Buffalo would get instead. I think they got it also.

We are supposed to have Ricky's memorial service this afternoon. We still will be at the church if anybody intends to come.

My family never were too keen on funerals and memorial services and I can imagine this conversation going on between Ricky and our mom this past Wednesday:

Ricky: I guess Clifford and Kathy are going to have a memorial service for me this Saturday.

Mom: I told them not to make a big deal out of this and they didn't have to.

Ricky: Well, you know, I still owe Clifford for the time he told me he threw the elbow grease on the truck. And there also was the time he sent me for a blivot when we were in boy scouts. And a few other times....

Mom: Alright. Alright. What do you want to do?

Ricky: You know we do have connections now. And I really don't want opening day to be snowed out this year...

Friday, March 07, 2008

An adult with the mind of a child and a heart of gold

We had moved to the west side of Cleveland, Ohio after Ricky graduated from high school. Ricky was unable to work a traditional job but my parents did get him into a sheltered workshop for a time. On my days off, I would listen to what he was saying about his work. He was proud of what he was doing. On his time off, he would keep himself occupied with the sports section and sports magazines. He would devour them and be able to talk sports with most who could understand him, as he had a habit of talking too fast.

I would play on his love of Cleveland sports and for his birthday one year I took him to a Cleveland Browns game. We took the rapid transit into downtown Cleveland. Before the transit got to the Terminal Tower, Ricky went into a seizure. I got him off the train, but he was still confused and tried to pull me back on while the train was moving. Oh, that day the Browns beat the New York Jets and we did enjoy the game.

There were also times we went to Cleveland Municipal Stadium to watch the Indians play baseball. Those days a crowd of 3,000 was considered large. The stadium seated over 70,000. We would be enjoying a game and one of the Indians top hitters of that time, Andre Thornton, would come to bat. The "crowd" would be unusually quiet when Ricky would stand up and yell at the top of his lungs "HIT A HOMER!" Now it's a known fact that I'm not the quietest person around, but I would sink in my seat as we would hear this at least once more. Cleveland Stadium had a wicked echo when empty. But he would also keep score while watching the game, something I've never been patient enough to do.

But speaking of loud voices, one time my older sister went to the movies with us to watch "Smokey and the Bandit." Ricky and I both had a hearty laugh, and we were watching a very funny movie. Bev, our sister, moved to the other side of the theater and swore that she would never go to the movies with us anymore.

Wasn't the last time we would irritate Bev. May 15, 1981, Kathy went to a baby shower as we were expecting our first child(who now has her own blog), so I went to my folks house to visit. That night the Indians were on TV playing the Toronto Blue Jays. I turned to the channel the game was, only half expecting to see any baseball as it had been raining all day. Baseball was on and Bev stormed out of the room. Ricky and I were getting into the game and it appeared to be a special game. One by one Len Barker was getting the batters out with no one of the Blue Jays reaching base. I was realizing this about the fifth inning. By the sixth inning, my dad come into the room and I told him that Barker was pitching a perfect game. Ricky then chimed in saying that he might get a no hitter too. That's about as bad as the time I told someone that Ray Fosse hit a grand slam with the bases loaded. We cracked up and Ricky, who had this habit of not taking himself too seriously, laughed too. Barker did pitch a perfect game. Watching that was something Ricky never forgot, but he remembered that as the game we watched when "Bev went out of the room, mad as hell."

When I came up, he would always have something he saw in a paper or magazine that he thought I would be interested in. After my daughters were born, he always had something he wanted to give them. Ricky loved all his nieces and nephews. He loved seeing anybody from his family. But no matter what, nobody had better not talk bad about Cliff and Kathy. Ricky would stick up for us and our children.

Photo at the top is Richard, my sister Deirdre, and our niece Aleta, who left a comment on a previous post. Photo was taken in 1977.

Next: Three weeks in ICU and things were never the same.

Guardian Angels

This is an addition to the last post.

I graduated from high school in 1974. After that, my dad wouldn't allow Ricky to take part in extracurricular activities at school. But he was going to the Medina County Joint Vocational School which opened in the fall of 1974.

While Ricky went to the JVS, there were the cruel people taunting him, hoping he would have seizures. But there were also people who would stick up for him. One girl from our home district wrote a letter in the school paper wondering why these students would be so mean that they would want to cause someone to have a seizure. I found out some of the students from Diversified Health Occupations would also help him out after having a seizure. I found this out after I started dating one of the students. This student would later become my wife, Kathy, and his last guardian angel while alive.

Small world.

Ricky-My Shadow

Most folks knew him as Richard, Rich, or Richie. We had a cousin named Ricky, so some of the relatives called him "Little Ricky" even though he was 4 months older than his cousin. But when my dad first called him "Dick," my mom put her foot down(in her words) so the only one who got away with that was the high school basketball coach, Mr. Keating.

My brother practically worshiped the ground I walked on, and sometimes that was very annoying, as he was my shadow as we were growing up. I look back and realize that that is the greatest tribute someone could give another person. I could predict what he would become interested in, because it would what I had most recently become interested in. Only thing is he would become more fanatical about it. I got interested in baseball and a year later you would think Ricky swallowed the record book, he would know so much. I would get Batman and Superman comic books, next thing you know Ricky would have his own collection of comics. And he would laugh at my jokes no matter how bad they were.

But it was noticed when he started school that he wasn't as intelligent as the others, and in many cases he was passed from grade to grade as a matter of courtesy. The others knew that he couldn't take teasing and took teasing to a new level. They noticed tan blotches all over his body and started calling him "Spot." Children can be so cruel, but I've always been told that it's a reflection on the parents. There would be other, just as cruel, things done. But the fact is, if Ricky was still around, he wouldn't even think about it. The things he remembered was when some of the upper class students got together and bought him a sports record book. He remembered some of his classmates that stuck up for them, people such as Roger Chaffee, now Dr. Roger Chaffee MD, one of the top cardiologists in Akron, Ohio, and Jim Ritcher, who had won the Outland Trophy, given to the top offensive lineman in college football. Oh, and Jim Ritcher also played in four Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills. Do you see a trend here?

While I was still in high school, Ricky wanted to be on the football team like his brother. He played 8th grade and freshman football, both years the team was undefeated, but Ricky sat on the bench, as he was one of the most uncoordinated kids around. But to be fair, I wasn't too good either and if Highland High School would have cut players, we would have both been cut. They gave everybody a chance. Mr. Cranston, the athletic director, took a liking to him and talked him into being a manager. Ricky was baseball manager his freshman year and would sing(badly) the national anthem before all the games. Ricky earned 2 letters for managing. I didn't earn any.

Oh, those dark splotches? Those were the sign of an inherited condition, called neurofibromatosis. The condition led to epileptic seizures. Ricky started having seizures during his sophomore season. One of the football coaches called our house and said he noticed brief episodes where Ricky would seem to zone out, and suspected petit mal seizures. They gradually got worse and Ricky spent a week at Akron Children's Hospital. while in the hospital there were no seizures noticed and My mom was going to bring him home. While walking toward the entrance of the hospital, she had her purse snatched. Mom was shaken up over it and told Ricky about it. At this point, he went into the first seizure noticed at the hospital, so they kept him another day, with still no definite diagnosis.

As time went on, the seizures started getting worse and so was the cruelty of the other students. My dad thought they were fake and told us as much. The following year, after I graduated from school, Richard and our younger sister Deirdre were getting ready for school. Ricky went into a seizure and my dad punched him in the face. Dear old dad told him that he was tired of his fake f**king seizures, and if he didn't stop this, he(Ricky) would end up in an institution.

When mom couldn't take any more, she talked to our pastor, who went with my dad and Rick to the neurologist. After reading the results of the EEG, the neurologist said it looked like there were electrical storms going on and while he was talikng to the three of them, Ricky then went into a seizure. Ricky was then admitted into the hospital for observation. My dad became a believer, and started treating Ricky better when he thought he had only a little while to live. Ricky would be around for another 33 years.

Next: The adult with the mind of a child and the heart of gold.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ricky's Obituary

I have my own tribute for my little brother that I'm working on in draft. I hope to post it in the next few days. Please feel free to sign the guest book.

Richard P. Feightner
(September 18, 1958 - March 4, 2008)

Guest Book | Sign Guest Book

Richard P. Feightner

Richard P. "Rick" Feightner, 49, of Rittman died Tuesday, March 04, 2008 at Autumnwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

He was born September 18, 1958 in Medina, OH to Kenneth P. and Noreen G. (Babcock) Feightner and lived in Cleveland before moving to Rittman 4 years ago. He graduated from Highland High School in 1976 and was a former student at Nick Amster Sheltered Workshop in Wooster.

Surviving are his brothers, Clifford (Kathy) Feightner of Rittman, and Allen Short of Cleveland; sister, Deirdre Feightner of Rittman; nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 4:00 P.M. at the South Main Street Church of God with Rev. Jeff Ball officiating. Friends may call 1 hour before services at the church. His body was cremated. Gillman Funeral Home in Rittman is handling arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to the South Main Street Church of God, 261 S. Main St., Rittman, OH 44270.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Richard Feightner

September 18, 1958 - March 4, 2008

Memorial service

March 8, 2008 4:00PM
South Main Street Church of God
261 South Main Street
Rittman, Ohio 44270

I may be away

I received a call less than an hour ago from the nursing home. My brother passed away. I may be away from the keyboard the next little bit, so I wanted you to know.

I thank you in advance for all your prayers.

Life can be so unfair.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

POST 500: I like Liquid because......

Cliff Note: To commemorate post number 500, I want to pay homage to one of the people who were a large part of me making it to this number.

I want to start this post with this fact: Most folks who read my blog that reside outside of Northeast Ohio would not be reading it if I hadn't discovered Liquid last June. Through Liquid Illuzion, I discovered Pilgrim, Frasypoo, Bella, Amias, Mel Kaye, and Chelle. Through those blogs I discovered others and others discovered me. and I have had the privilege of introducing Liquid to my base here in Northeast Ohio. Those who I personally know that read my blog have mentioned that Liquid Illuzion is one of their blog stops after checking what I have to write. Liquid's fans include my oldest daughter, Martha.

A great friendship begins: Lets back up to last July. I was surfing the blogs by clicking the "next blog" button. I come up to this blog called Liquid Cowgirl(this blog has since been retired). My first mention of Liquid was July 3. The next day she made her first comment here. I had sent her a "greetings from a fellow blogger" email, with the hopes I would get at least an acknowledgement. Suzanne sent me a very kind reply, complimenting me about the content of my blogs. My next post was a rip off of one of hers, you might be from Mississippi if: Believe me, in the past 8 months I have probably learned to type Mississippi in my sleep. Mississippi is my favorite four letter word. Think about it. As reference to a song, I started referring to Liquid as my Mississippi Queen. She then commented that she couldn't be a Mississippi queen without her Ohio King. Another time I had posted a picture I received in my work email. The picture itself was funny, but Suzanne noticed that there was a reference to an adult oriented website. Lesson learned. I proofread better nowadays.

Happy Birthday to you: As my readers know, if I find out when your birthday is, you will get a greeting on this page. I found out Liquid's but also found out that she likes to celebrate it in style. Her birthday, by the way is August 13. That was also the first day we heard each other's voice, as we spent my lunch break on the phone with each other.

One day devoted to...Me! I was the star on Liquid Illuzion last August 27, which was the one year anniversary of my blog. I did a series of posts that week, including this one devoted to my friend of, at that time, less than two months. There are several of us here who probably feel that we've known Suzanne all of our lives. Suzanne spent the day posting picture after picture, commemorating the anniversary.

There have been times when Suzanne has had other obligations in her very busy life, but always sends me an email to let me know that I am important, and she will be back blogging soon. I have emailed others and they always tell me that they are good friends with Liquid and that does not surprise me in the least. Suzanne treasures all the friendships she has made online and sets a very good example for all of us to follow by the way she expresses herself in the comment section of all the blogs.

Lately, Liquid's world has been falling down all around her, but she has found the time to continue her friendships online. She has friends because she knows how to be a friend.

Member of my family new to this family.

My oldest daughter, Martha has started writing a new blog called Welcome to my Crazy Life. She has commented several times on this blog and has taken me to task via the comment section on occasion. She currently has 4 posts, which means that she is only 495 posts behind me.

Martha also wanted to correct me on a statement I made in my previous post. Her youngest child, Silas, had his birthday on January 25.

Welcome to my Crazy Life, is a view of my daughter's life and she tells about her children(as if that's not been done before) work, and gives tips on other things.

Martha does check out the other blogs when she gets the chance, so if you get a chance, check her blog out.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

February is over...And I am overjoyed

One of the only things I am thankful for about February this year is the fact that it was the shortest month. Well that, and both my grandsons had birthdays in February.... And Mrs74 come out of the accident with just a concussion.... And WIXYjr is better and getting the help he needs...We are all still alive....I have a job......I have all you for friends....That should take care of some of the comments.

The month ended up with our checking account being overdrawn, which was a result of my stupidity. That and running out of gas probably is the adult equivalent of peeing your pants. As we are talking about the solutions, we get a call from the nursing home where my younger brother lives. He had been slumped over in his wheelchair and was unresponsive. We had expected to get there and see him in a vegetative state. As we are his guardians, the nurse had to go over options with us, so Mrs74 and I were discussing this on our way to the home. We got there and he was very lethargic but able to recognize us. We spent some time there with him and after getting assurance that we would get updates, we went home.

It's times like this when I wonder why people like my brother have to go through so much. He never did anything to hurt anyone, but even while we were going to high school the others were cruel to him, even going to any length they could to cause him to have a seizure. Even though it's been over 30 years ago, it still hurts me to think of it. These people are, for the most part, leading productive lives. My brother never got the chance.