My Uncle Ricky died nine years ago, by way of wrongful and negligent death here at the hospital in the friendliest town in the US. But what's done is done.
He was awesome. I love him and miss him.
94 East leads to the lake and to the land where my whole family grew up, and Ricky lived, and my other uncle still lives there in the woods. Now there are two ways to go. Old 94, or straight to the new highway. I always take the old.
One day in September, when I had driven and hiked and sweat and sat and climbed all around the lake because I needed a day to myself to burn off some funk energy, I was making my way back to town from the old 94. Coming to the stop sign where left leads back to town, right to the new highway. It's the point in the road where I leave good memories of the day and days gone by in the rear view as I make my way back to town. It's at that sign that I always feel that the day is done, and what a good day it always is. This time I was thinking how good it is to get away sometimes. How it always pays off. Good for the soul and all that.
I got to that stop sign and turned on the radio. Led Zeppelin's Ramble On was coming on. Serious chills and goosebumps enveloped me and I knew instantly it was my Uncle Ricky. I turned up the radio and smiled. I even looked over at the passenger seat and said, Hey, Ricky.
The goosebumps lasted a solid minute and a half, and I smiled the rest of the way home. I grew up listening to Zeppelin and other greats because of him. Some of the best lyrics ever written came from those guys.
I didn't know what day that was that I had spent in the woods. I didn't realize. But the day after, I was reminded that that day was September 7th. It had been my Uncle Ricky's birthday.