|The Poisoned Ink Well|
Sunday, October 06, 2002
My father had died and I needed a friend when I met Ric. I had one of those disagreeably, dysfunctional, eccentric (never say crazy, darlin) southern families. We had Azalea bushes, instead of picket fences, and our grass in typical Louisiana fashion was greener than the grass in most other places.
My oldest brother died a James Dean death, on a borrowed motorcycle, clad in black leather at 17 years old, complete with a long line of weeping teenage girlfriends. I was only seven, so I never really got to know him. My other older brother, who is now doing a long stretch in prison, was 12 and he took full advantage of the death of my oldest brother and could pummel me into submission without my bodyguard around, anymore. I don’t want to bore you or traumatize you with the excruciating details of this right now.
After the death of my dad, our anchor, we all (my family) drifted between Louisiana and Arkansas (we had property in both states) and my other brother (the one who lived) started taking advantage of my mother. He was stealing money, checks, and stuff like that and my Mom wouldn’t listen to me, and the people we knew didn’t know the scope of it (they wouldn't listen to me either). He was very abusive with her and she would lie and hide it. I couldn’t stand to watch it.
I was 18 and I had the world by my tail (didn't know it at the time,sigh) like most people at 18 do. My Dad always had said that 'I was like a sore tail bob cat when I was mad' and he’d warn all my boyfriends, that he wasn't worried about me with them, he was more worried about them with me. Ric never met my father so he wasn’t forewarned.
One night about a year after my father died, my Mom and me went out dancing at a honky-tonk on the edge of Hot Springs called the Rhinestone. Ric was the club DJ. He was about 6’1, 24 years old, and he looked like the blonde guy from the Dukes of Hazard. He was gorgeous and he carried around a guitar and could sing and play like Buddy Holly. I was in love; I mean, big time IN LOVE. Of course he didn’t have any money, or a car, or anything like that, but you know, you don’t let things like that stop you when you are that young. He had the bluest eyes and the curliest blonde hair and he knew me, every inch. He was from Ohio and he knew so much and he seemed so worldly to me (Hell he‘d even lived in Cleveland). He knew the words to every Elvis song and could sing them, too. What else could a lonely girl from Baton Rouge want in a fellow?
I digress, I still can't believe he is dead. He was so alive. He was 33 and he died. I really, really thought I'd see him, again. He had had his problems, but he was basically a good guy. He loved. He loved everything. He loved his music and his DJ name was Rock and Roll Ric or Rockin Ricky. He was on the radio for awhile here in Hot Springs when our son was still a baby.
He didn't seem like the kind of person you could think of as dead, but you know then again, in retrospect, he didn't seem like the kind of person who would ever get old, either.
It feels weird to be old with a ghost sitting on my shoulder. I have a picture on my wall, now. It's a blown up snap shot. Ric's mom gave it to me. They said it was in his wallet when they went to identify the body. He's holding our son and they are both staring at the camera and he has tears in his eyes (Ric) and he's biting his lip to keep from crying. I remember taking it and remember him crying. Now, he stares at me in this photograph, holding his baby son, a son he never got to know, a son he never saw again after the age of three and I wonder what makes things like this happen. W*H*Y does it have to be like this? Now I'm crying, so I have to go. I'll be back later to talk to myself, again.
Damn, I love life, and I hate at the same time.
Added on 12-10-02 More of my thoughts
[ I drive by the club where he used to work every night. It is ironic, but I was once kicked off the dance floor of this club for dancing to risqué. Ric played Jerry Lee Lewis Whole Lotta Shaking Going On for me and we shook it, he left the DJ booth and we danced and then we got down. I’m from Louisiana, so I didn’t know that I was doing anything unusual, but when we started shaking and shimmying, lower and lower (one of my boobs mighta gotten loose for a minute) and then owner came over and pulled me off the dance floor and said “We don’t allow that kinda dancin in here Missy”
What’s ironic about the story? This was years ago and it is now a Strip Club and every time I drive by, I think about the night I was too much for the place (much to much). Bet I wouldn't be now.]