Gathering The Courage to Really Tell "Ricky" What I Think of Him . . .
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain— The prophet Joel
The Year: 1966
fall to be exact--football, leaves hiding behind spring, and me in the misplaced, outranked Class of 1961, and for what it's worth, I urge all of you who WERE in the Class of 61, no matter where you were, what you remember doing, and who you knew . . .kick in the classic by Buffalo Springfield, "For What It's Worth," and when the tune is really sinking into your center, you will arrive where I did--nowhere, which is in no way to be confused with "Nowhere Man," by the Beatles.
I Should Exercise Respect
with "Ricky," my aloof friend, who I accidentally met during that one tragic, bloody year of 1966 thanks to Vietnam ramping up and the years were piling up on guys in my class and we knew that *he was outside the classroom, just waiting to grab us by the collar and drag us to Ft. Bliss, TX., to where the 18-year-old's were shipped for training for battle in 'Nam. (friend is a lie; and I wrote 'Nam because I am severely-lazy at this juncture.) I didn’t respect “Ricky” in ‘66 and the last time I saw him in 2018, I still didn’t respect him. I hate like the devil, Lucifer, to lie especially to God, the one who knows all things, but for the fiber of my soul, I just do not like “Ricky.”
When (this episode) in my 12-year-old awkward, outcast, and visibly-stupid body happened, it was in the north hallway of our Hamilton Grammar School, which goes by the name of Hamilton Middle School, due to a severe re-structuring of our Elementary, Grammar, and High School and the names of each school were re-named.
The Year: 1966 Was The Year When Music Such as
“Hanky Panky,” by Tommy James and the Shondells; “Good Vibrations,” by the Beach Boys; and “Summer in The City,” by The Lovin’ Spoonful scored huge places on the Top 40 Record Rating System that was worshiped by hip Djs from Chicago (WLS) to Los Angeles, Ca., My favorite Djs was John Records Landecker, his real name, a staple at WLS, Chicago and Wolfman Jack, Los Angeles.
Before I go any further, let me tell you about “Ricky,” who should have been a Rock and Roller, but was too arrogant. Tommy James who scored “Hanky Panky,” would have been more compassionate or any of his Shondell musicians, ever dared to be. Before I go any further, what is a Shondell?
When Ricky” walked down our wooden hallways, it was like God Himself was on board. Boooaarrrrd! No. There I go telling another lie. I would compare “Ricky” to Moses, who was famous for raising his hands and rod above the Red Sea that parted to allow the Nation of Israel to flee the Nation of Egypt from a life of slavery, and every evil deed that could be contrived. I didn’t shed any tears for the evil Egyptian soldiers who were drowned.
“Ricky” was slow when he talked and the girls in our room knew it. His slow delivery was NOT from a physical affliction, just his image of being aloof and arrogant. But that didn’t stop me for trying, each day, to find that ONE thing to like him, but failed. The ONLY redeeming thing (back then) that kept me from cursing the very ground that he walked on was him wearing braces apparently from some form of Polio. That part was never known, of course I did not ask him. When you are as cool as “Ricky” and cool too, you ask few questions.
Are you painting a good image of “Ricky”? Good, but to those who are still awake, and still groping to understand what he looked like, imagine a young Ricky Nelson and you’ve got the entire package. I urge you to sit up (if you work or not) and land on one of those Re-Run Haven Channels and find any episode of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett,” and when you see “Ricky,” you will be watching “Ricky."
On Our "Battleground"
at our playground at the Hamilton Grammar School, but it was more of a battleground than a place for us to play baseball, football, and other time-killing things. I will never forget what happened next—and God knows that I have tried to forget what happened between “Ricky” and me when I met him walking toward the playground.
I had summoned all of my courage up to the “Stud of Sixth Grade,” and I had convinced myself that no matter what happened after I talked to him because I found out that he was related to me though my mom and his dad who, by the way, was one more good guy. Not “Ricky.” Where his apple rolled from is anybody’s guess.
He spied me walking his way—a slight fall breeze was blowing and I was ready to tell him something that I thought would make him look differently when he knew that he and I were related.
Step . . .step . . .step. . .
“Rick,” I said out of breath.
“Yeah,” he said slowly. (Of course.)
“Something I found out about you and I . . .and, well . . .
“Ricky interrupted me with such a cold shoulder that a side of beef could lay on his shoulders and not ruin.
“I found out that my mom and your dad are related,” I explained.
“So?” “Rick” said slumping down as to look that much cooler.
“Well . . .that makes you and me related,” I said and I was not stuttering.
“Ricky,”cool, aloof, on top of his game and holding the world by the spine.
He let go a small laugh that only the smart alec’s of the world can laugh. It was at that time I knew that I was going to be insulted.
“You go to Hell,” and he lumbered away without saying another word.
I was right. I was insulted that lasted from 1961 until today, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2019.
58 years ago. That is one very long time. Very long.
As it turns out, he and his brother showed up at my mom’s reunion which was an annual shindig that happens on the second Saturday of June each month and the entire family all but fell to their knees to worship him.
All but me. I just sat to myself and did not interrupt the festivities. I mean. Back to that earlier valley of decisions—what good would it be if I had went in like a hypocrite and said some mealy mouth, nice to see you, or some other trash. So I kept to myself.
And with all things being equal (in God’s eyes), I am sure that somewhere there is good, a lot of good inside this one man that I have hated for 58 years. And I know that hating anyone cannot be good for one’s psychological make-up, but I haven’t been killed by this guy.
I will not give him the chance.
And as for the valley of decisions . . .I might, someday, offer my hand in friendship.
Only time, what’s left of it, will tell.
January 6, 2019_________________________________
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© 2019 Kenneth Avery