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.

I’ll Go

The Virginia heat and humidity were a little strange to us, having grown up in Upstate NY.  Our tiny bedroom in the apartment had no air conditioning and precious little breeze in the tightly packed complex that we called home.  The summer months began to drag a little with the onset of ordinary life in the Military.  Temperatures caused us to rise slowly most mornings and dress into clothes that were damp from the night air that had been pressed unwillingly through the window screens.  My fatigue uniform wouldn’t hold a decent press, even with starch, frustrating my new bride as she adjusted to married life.  So you don’t think poorly of me leaving that task to Olga, I had...

All They Have Are “Things”

A friend of mine recently attended a conference and told me of a man who lives in Africa and had spoken at the event.  He quoted him as saying, “I feel sorry for America. All they have are things”. When that statement was made, I looked around the group I was with and saw many of the heads nodding in agreement. I knew that statement had to be challenged. America does have lots of “things”.  Some of those “things” are the stone gardens of places like Arlington and Saratoga, where the graves of brave men and women are marked.  They gave all they had to liberate peoples and nations around the world. America is a noble nation who has shown herself time and time again willing to...

D-Day

The enemy was hunkered down at Normandy as the fog began to clear.  Appearing on the horizon, were the Allies who had summoned the greatest invasion force in the history of warfare.  They were determined that the tyranny of the Nazi’s would not be allowed to stand.  While the Fuhrer was focusing on Pas de Calais, more than 160,000 troops landed further south on that fateful morning along the French coastline.  Names of those beaches would be seared into the memory of every soldier, airman and sailor that struck the field of battle.  Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword would live as a testimony to the Allies strength that would turn the tide of the War on June 6, 1944. Among the...

The Honeymoon

The plane touched down in DC after a seemingly short flight from Albany.  Sunday afternoon had arrived and we had been married for a whole day.  The days were little more than a blur since I’d left Ft. Lee on Friday night. The hustle and lack of sleep had taken its toll and I was beginning to feel a bit feverish.  I decided to ignore it and chalked it up to the post-wedding jitters. The only way to get to Petersburg on a Sunday evening from the Capitol, was to take a Greyhound, so we made our way to the downtown bus station in a taxi. The combination of the ratty terminal and the smell of diesel fumes was not making me feel any better.  We arrived in Petersburg and then another...

The American Soldier

You are America and I am your soldier. You called me and I answered “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” You called me to go, and I answered. You called me to Lexington, Concord, Bennington and Saratoga. And I answered. You called me to Tippecanoe And I answered. You called me to the fields of Gettysburg And I answered. You...

A Day To Remember

The heat from the Texas sun on the tarmac penetrated our combat boots as we left the bus for the waiting aircraft. As we approached the plane, we saw the airline’s name displayed on the fuselage. Modern Air was a military contractor and we decided that name didn’t instill a lot of confidence. As we began to gain altitude, I looked out from my window seat at the perfect grids of farmland that formed the landscape, glad to be leaving the Training Command station and heading back east. We soon discovered that our ride lacked the usual commercial amenities with only two stewardesses for about 180 GIs and the pilots flying straight through plenty of turbulence, making walking around...

The Question

During Christmas break, things began to move rather quickly. Classes for both of us became secondary as our days were filled with spending time together. I was working full time and Olga had begun working for Cluett-Peabody, a clothing manufacturer within walking distance of where she was living. The Draft was clipping at my heels as I was back to working full-time, abandoning classes altogether.  It was time to visit the local Air Force recruiter who would seal my fate for the next four years.  Sergeant Wheeler was finishing out his 20 years, hoping to retire soon.  His only purpose in those days was to see how many young men he could convince to enlist.  He gave me his pitch, showing...

A Season of Love

That sign hangs in our center-hall stairway, surrounded by years of family portraits, illustrating how our little family has grown. Our small series of stories begins in the mid-term of my first year in college. I firmly decided that I hated accounting, so I dropped out and went to work full-time as an automobile mechanic. The war in Vietnam was escalating and my draft status would soon become 1A, if I couldn’t maintain my student deferment. I signed up for a few night courses and planned to change my major to Automotive Technology in the fall, when my new draft status would take affect. There was no way to imagine how my life would change in the following year. September arrived...

The Times Of Your Life

Most of life is pretty mundane. Sometimes I find myself scouring my memory, searching for a story of some significant event. I dismiss some memories as being pretty ordinary. Many are not very interesting or comical, at least to the outsider. As the saying goes, sometimes you have to be there to appreciate it. I admire those who write fiction. I have a number of favorites but Louis L’Amore had a talent for spinning a good story. You can easily tell the good guys from the villains. And, his stories draw you into the characters’ lives, making you feel like you’re right there. Fiction is supposed to fire the imagination and stimulate your senses. That’s easy to see...

Thank You for Serving

Wolf Road in Albany has to be the busiest roadway in the entire Capital District. Stopping in the traffic and getting out of your car in that road is almost as dangerous as navigating the bread aisle at the Latham Hannaford the night before another Upstate New York snow storm. Yet, that’s what happened to us. We were threading our way through the traffic on our way to the Mall. Waiting for the light to change, sitting three lanes out in the middle of the road and preparing to turn left onto Sand Creek Road, was when I saw her in my rear-view mirror. The woman in the car behind us had exited her car, right on the double lines, and was walking toward us. I consider myself a fair...