Author - Rick Gile

Rick Gile

Life is made up of stories. You may not realize it, but we relay our experiences to one another all the time. They can give our loved ones a sense of the past, our friends a glimpse of how we have reacted to life's changes. Or, tell a new acquaintance something about ourselves. Stories are really about the journey of life.

What you encounter as life passes are views of events that make up your past, while shaping your future. What you read here are merely a few of the stories that have shaped my life, so far.

Rick and his wife Olga live in upstate New York, close to their grandchildren. They work part-time with their sons after running a business for 37 years in the Albany area.

A Nation Remembers

“Back at home a young wife waits Her Green Beret has met his fate He has died for those oppressed Leaving her this last request” Put silver wings on my son’s chest Make him one of America’s best He’ll be a man they’ll test one day Have him win the Green Beret” When SSGT Barry Sadler released his song in 1966, American found itself at war in South East Asia.  The lyrics were written in honor of Green Beret US Army Specialist 5 James Gabriel, Jr., the first native Hawaiian to die in Vietnam, who was killed by Viet Cong gunfire while on a training mission on April 8, 1962. One verse mentioned Gabriel by name, but it wasn’t included in the...

The Unexpected Visitor

Merchants lined the streets, peddling their wares, while the young couple were making their way through the crowd that was gathering in front of the temple.  The throng was busy, pawing through the merchandise, searching for a unique item.  Some might have been looking for a decoration or perhaps, a special piece of tableware that they might take pride in displaying to their house guests.  Others combed the tables for a gift to give a loved one or a friend. Mary held her newborn closely, as the people forced their way to the paraphernalia on the tables.  Everyone wanted to be the first in line for the newest charm they would purchase and subsequently brag about it to their...

Broccoli on Thanksgiving?

We were living in our small apartment in Rosamond, California while we waited for housing to become available on the Air Force Base where we were stationed.  Autumn plodded along bringing with it the cooler winds that poured off the eastern side of the Antelope Valley mountains.  It certainly felt uneventful as there were only the two of us at the table that Thursday afternoon in late November.  Thankful that we had a place to live and that we were together, all the while thinking of our families who must have been enjoying the holiday back in New York. At the bottom of a stack of pans in our kitchen today, rests the 14″ black-speckled porcelain-enameled roasting pan that we had...

Arachnophobia

“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” Thoreau. With Tech School at Ft. Lee, Va. almost complete, we set out sights on our new duty station in California.  The papers for a 30 day leave in my pocket, we began to get ready to spend some time in New York, visiting family and friends.  The Rambler didn’t look like it would make the trip to Albany, and surely would not make the West Coast.  We spotted a used car ad on television for a Barracuda that was in our price range.  Saturday morning we headed for Richmond to check it out.  A cool, October rain was tapping the convertible roof when we arrived at the dealership.  I found...

Grandma’s Old Fry Pan

My Great Grandmother was born in Quebec, Canada in 1880.  She had seen a lot in her lifetime.  Born only 15 years after the Civil War, she witnessed two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, the onset of the automobile and the beginnings of space travel before her passing in 1967.  Home was a houseboat on the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan during the 1920s where she lived with her husband, daughter and granddaughters (my mother and her sister), along with an assortment of other family members.  Later, they bought a farm in East Postenkill where they would raise a very, very extended family.  Moving from there once the house was free of kids and sundry guests, her and Grandpa...

Get Off My Bus

It was a typical Upstate New York day in early spring for most people getting out of bed that March morning, .  The sun poked through my bedroom window on the second floor of my parents cozy little cape out on Spring Avenue.  I stumbled my way downstairs to the familiar smell of bacon frying as my dad was cooking his usual breakfast for him and me.  Dad did not take sick-days during his career at Behr Manning in Watervliet.  Nor, did he take “personal time”.  In fact, he did not take any time off, other than his scheduled vacations.  Two weeks during the shutdown in July and August and another week or two over Thanksgiving to hunt deer.  That day would be the only...

Is That Uncle Fred?

We arrived a few hours before the ceremony to be sure everything was in place.  I scattered a few bottles of water along the front pew for the bridal party.  Our son Jim and his soon-to-be bride Paula, were preparing to tie the knot on what seemed like the hottest July day in the history of the world.  We were sweating through our three-piece tuxedos as we jammed ourselves into the sanctuary.  The place was packed out as we felt the excitement that only a wedding can bring. The music began as the guests entered and, after the usual preliminaries, the wedding attendees began to do some singing as a prelude the main event.  The hymnals began their leafy noises as the congregation coughed...

The Magic Pot

You know the kitchen gadget as a Pressure Cooker. My wife and I call it the Magic Pot. We buy cheap cuts of meat that would normally take hours to cook, put them in the Magic Pot, apply heat and pressure, then magically we have a wonderfully tender entree.  We both prefer the long stewing method but sometimes we want to get dinner on the table without all the wait.  Remember, you can’t tenderize meat in a microwave.  That radar-emitting piece of machinery is one appliance we’ve both grown to dislike, but that another story. My mother feared the Pressure Cooker, as she would a hand grenade, and my father loved the fact that she did.  He enjoyed tormenting her with the pot as...

Nice Day For A Swim

You could feel the low-hanging sky as the dew clung to the grass on that July morning, as soon as you walked outside.  I like to walk the yard soon after sunup, inspecting the flowers and our little vegetable garden.  This particular morning, I noticed an animal taking an early-morning swim in our pool.  A close look revealed a little black and white creature that looked more like a wet kitty than a skunk.  Unfortunately, it was the latter.  He had somehow managed to get down the stairs into the pool, no doubt drawn by the cool water.  I’m used to fishing out chipmunks, squirrels, frogs and the occasional snake but this one caused me to hesitate.  Anyway, this guy was pretty...

What’s in a Name?

There are times when we are called by different names.  I’m not referring to name-calling but rather nicknames and titles.  When our receptionist would get a phone call for me and the caller would ask for me as “Ricky”, she would tell me that one of my cousins or aunts must be on the line. She knew that they were the only ones who used that particular nickname. Titles, however, are a bit different.  We all have them.  I’ve had a few, as well.  Mister, Airman, Sarge, Boss, and even the occasional Sir.  Plus, a few more that are business and community-related.  Some are earned, others not. When our generation of baby boomers were growing up, it was unimaginable...