A good name is better than ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth.
Last week, August 7, 2013, we had a tragedy. Aaron's dad, Ricky or "Uncle Dad " to the kiddos passed away while at work. He was there one minute, and gone the next. We still are trying to comprehend it.
While at worship rehearsal last Wednesday evening, my phone vibrated several times, but I saw it was Lynda and didn't think anything about it; I would call her back later. We talk several times a day and I thought she was probably calling to tell me about another pin she saw on Pinterest. No biggie.
When I looked down and realized she had called three times I started to get antsy, then almost immediately I received a group text to Aaron and I from Lynda saying "Someone call me ASAP." I flew out the door to call her back. After several attempts to get ahold of her, she finally answered. I can barely recall the conversation ... I remember she asked me where Aaron was and I said I wasn't sure, he'd gone with friends to shoot their bows and the kids were at home with a sitter.
Then she told me about Ricky. "Boo, I don't know how to tell you this. It's bad. It's really, really bad. Ricky had a heart attack, and he's gone."
I really don't know what we said after that. It was so awful.
A couple of people came out from the Praise team and prayed and then I drove to find Aaron. I called everyone he was with and couldn't get ahold of anyone. Eventually Aaron called me, and said "what's going on?" So I had to tell him ... on the phone.
We met back at the house and told the kids. They really didn't understand. Dalton cried off and on that night, but Avery didn't say much about it.
We made plans to travel back to Little Rock the next day (after JUST driving home from Arkansas four days before ... I literally still had suitcases in the car). I don't think Aaron got off the phone until after midnight.
The next morning friends took our kids so we could pack for another trip. We flew out at 3 the next afternoon.
God truly went before us and was our rear guard. We were blessed with super kind people on all of our flights. Even when the kids got a little rambunctious, they were extremely gracious. We made it to Little Rock exhausted at around 11:30 pm.
My parents met us at the airport to lend us a vehicle. We drove to Bryant where Aaron's mom and sister's fam were at Bobo's. The entire experience was so surreal.
We said the kids kept us sane. They played with all the cousins and hardly missed a beat. It definitely gave the rest of us something to think about.
Lynda, Ashley, and Aaron put together a beautiful funeral with the sweet people at their long time church in Bryant- First United Methodist Church and the Roller Funeral Home in Benton.
We made it to Saturday, which was the funeral day. Ricky clearly touched so many people and the little church was full to the brim of people who wanted to tell us one memory after another of the dearest (and most hilarious!) stories. Ricky was a character for sure.
Pastor Chris, their pastor at Mountainside United Methodist Church in Hot Springs Village the last 7 or 8 years did such a wonderful job remembering Ricky and his gentle spirit. I'll tell you one thing, it pays to be friends with your pastor. There's nothing like personal testimony at a funeral. It was perfect.
Unbelievably AaronBoone got up and spoke about his daddy too. It was seriously one of the sweetest things I've ever heard and I know Ricky would have been so honored. I have never been so proud of Aaron. He was amazing.
Aaron went on and on about what a hard worker his dad was; remembering lots of nights when his dad worked at Alcoa where he would come and hand him his dinner through the fence ... then his dad would either work until midnight or work a double shift. There is something so honorable about a man who works really hard for his family, and Ricky did. Since retiring (10 years ago ish?) he has picked up six post-retirement gigs. He always had something he was doing, and he did it to the fullest.
Ricky also was there for his kiddos whenever he needed them. Practicing baseball, studying, all events. He was there. There's nothing like looking back and knowing that your parents were there for all your important moments. And Ricky was.
His latest job was working at Wal-Mart part time. That was where he saw a friend two of his who he'd met through two of his previous post-retirement jobs who came up to say hello. They chatted off and on for a second before she asked "Are you coming or going?" (Meaning was he just getting to work, or leaving) He said, "Oh, I'm going home." She then gave him a hug and Ricky was gone. He did just what he said he was going to do ... he went home. If that's not a Ricky Boone story, I don't know what is.
Some of my first few memories of Ricky are the summer that Aaron and I first started dating in 2005. In July we went with his parents to Iowa to visit their dear friends, Doc and Sue, whom Aaron had lived with one summer when he was playing ball.
I picked up immediately on the fact that Aaron and his dad loved to antagonize each other. If one of them was for one team, the other was against. They both are super witty and hilarious and if they were on opposing teams their discussions were always incredibly entertaining. One night when we were in Iowa I was sitting out on the back porch with Doc and Ricky, we were having some serious conversation when a super scary noise came out of the woods. I said, "Oh my gosh! Did y'all hear that?" They didn't. Finally Ricky said, "what do you think it said?" and I finally replied "I think it said, Boooooo Ha Ha." We laughed pretty hard and ever since then Ricky has called me Boo. Really, their whole family has, but I don't think I've ever heard Ricky call me Rebekah. Just Boo.
I loved Ricky. He was always SUPER nice to me, and made me feel like I was just one of his kids too. We had lots of talks out on the deck and I loved talking about bible theology with him. He'd throw out a question about "Why do you think this happened in the bible?" and then we'd discuss.
I'll miss that.
When I think of Ricky, I think of him sitting on their back deck, looking out at the lake. We had lots of talks back there, he told plenty of jokes and riddles, and as of late was starting to tell me some of the same ones again. But, I didn't care. I laughed and laughed just like the first time.
He loved playing poker. He had started going up to Oaklawn where they had a live poker room and playing a bunch with a group of retired men, under his poker handle "52 Bicycles." He loved it so much that last summer when we were back in town I got a sitter and went to play in the ladies tournament because he just really wanted me to see what this was all about. I ended up having a lot of fun and am glad I got to see him in action at one of his favorite spots.
One year for a birthday, or Christmas or something we got him a poker table and some super snazzy poker chips. He loved that table and we loved playing with him. We had to get it out every time we played. I think the last time we did was during the crazy snow storm we had at Christmas last year.
I can't remember who won ... We probably played several rounds. But, I know we had fun. And I'm sure I learned some witty one-liners he'd memorized from one of his poker books.
I'll miss that.
Ricky was a standout grandfather. With his crazy sense of humor he picked the name "Uncle Dad" for himself and tried and tried to get Lynda to be "Aunt Maw." Thinking it was some play on the stereotypical craziness of the south being incestuous or whatever. He got QUITE a kick out of this and unfortunately, it stuck. He was "Unca Da" and Lynda agreed to be "Maw."
He loved all these hoodlums and even though he probably preferred the house calm and quiet ... and clean, he loved when we were all there and could frequently be found on the floor with them, picking his guitar to encourage them to dance, or most often with at least one curled up in his lap searching for Goldbug in some of the Richard Scarry books. I remember one year for Christmas they came over like they did most years for breakfast so they could see the kids open their presents and he brought Avery a dress to wear to our family Christmas celebration. I'm just gonna say it ... I hated it. It was like a Santa dress ... red velour with a fur collar and cuffs and I think maybe sparkles. I'm a little OCD about wanting the kids to match and may or may not pick out outfits weeks in advance (well, I'm much better these days, mainly because they have an opinion). Anyway, Ricky broke the dress out,( I may have gasped) and Avery loved it. He smiled a huge smile when she put it on, he'd picked it out himself. So, of course Avery wore the dress all day. And it was perfect. He would see all kinds of things like magic shows, alligator farms or other things around town and decide he wanted to go with the kids to see that. So we made sure that happened.
I'll miss that, too.
I have to post pictures ... I have to. Plus, I know we'll want to look back on these later. A lot of these were in the slideshow ... but some were not.
We love and miss you Ricky Boone.
Born October 14, 1951 ... Love this pic of him.
Ricky had a slew of cousins, but he was the oldest, so they referred to him as the "King."
They played and played letting the "King" direct them to do whatever he wished. These guys are all still close today, and I know they're lost without him too.
Ricky and Lynda met when they were just wee babes, 14 and 15, and started dating about a year after. So, they've pretty much been together forever.
They married December 1, 1972.
Two babies followed, Ashley in September of 1975.
And Aaron in July of 1979.
He literally helped build their home. Something about that makes me tear up every time.
Even though he was invited to go to NYC to model?! What?! Aaron and I had never seen these and it is seriously one of my deepest regrets! I so wish we could have had a discussion about this ... I can't imagine how hard we would have laughed. Love, love it. Seriously one of my favorite things I've ever seen.
Something tells me he was totally good with his decision to stay in Bryant, Arkansas to be a husband and father.
The "Real" Boones. As in, the "Blood Boones." Wives or Husbands that are not of the actual Boone blood not pictured ... nevermind if you've born their children and washed their undies. You're not allowed in the Family pic. Not that I'm bitter or anything. ;)
Ricky with his two crazy twin uncles and friends Curtis and Coyce. They played quite a role in raising Ricky, and I just know Coyce was waiting at the pearly gates to usher him in.
Apparently there's a really good story behind this picture since I heard at least five people ask if the photo of Aaron and Rick getting locked out of his apartment in college was going to be in there. I'm still confused. But, in case this stirs up a funny memory later, here it is.
The Boone's and Van Vark's ... sweet family friends.
Ricky and his brother, Mark.
Unca' Da and Ryley, the first grandchild!
Trunk or Treat.
Rick and Lynda had such a fun group of friends and they would do monthly "Mystery Murder Dinners," We loved waiting to see pics of their costumes.
Fathers Day 2007.
Reading to Avery. I'm sure popcorn was involved.
Finding Goldbug with Ryley.
This one gets me every time.
A trip to the Alligator Farm.
This was just a few weeks before Sawyer was born. August 2010.
Always looking for Goldbug.
These are some of the last pictures I have of Ricky. I'm so glad we got to spend so much time with him over the last month. He loved fixing the kids gravy and biscuits, so here's their last breakfast date.
They set up an obstacle course in the garage that weekend and this is Sawyer and Ricky hula-hooping. He was so fun.
Ryley and Katie Jo got to spend Sunday-Wednesday with them ... the last few days we had our Uncle Da. He made them coke floats and taught Ryley to play Stratego.
What are we going to do without him ... I really don't know.
After the funeral was over, and there was nothing else to do, we went out to their house in Hot Springs Village. It was so weird, so bizarre. I seriously kept thinking he would walk through the door, or be sitting on the deck when I went out there, that he and Aaron would be arguing over the remote when I came downstairs.
But he wasn't.
I'm still not sure how we are going to process this, or keep going on, business as usual.
My mom told Ashley that there's a hole there now, and it's always going to be a void, something missing. I don't know how there couldn't be. He was so great and he is missed so dearly.
Aaron took the kiddos to Wal-Mart to get out of the house one morning and grab a couple things. After rounding the corner he found this precious memorial set up. We couldn't help but think how thoughtful it was for them to set this up for him.
We are so grateful for every card, every hug, all the prayers, flowers, food, and love sent from all his loved ones. We know he was loved by many, as he should have been.
We got home yesterday to more love from our Pennsylvania/New York friends and we're thankful for them, too. Grieving is such a strange thing ... you're fine one moment, a wreck another.
Our sweet Dalton wants to watch the DVD over, and over, and over again from the funeral slideshow. However, Avery goes outside and covers her ears when he turns it on. She threw a fit when we let him bring a copy home. Avery was really fine until we got to the funeral and then went to Hot Springs Village. It's hard for adults to understand, much less children.
I know one thing, knowing that he is in heaven and that we will be with him again one day is the only thing that keeps us going. Thank you Jesus for your sweet sacrifice that we will not die, but live eternally with you, precious Father.
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I would go and prepare a room for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you there myself, that where I am you may be also, And you know the way to where I am going." -Jesus