2010 was a hard year for Rick. In the first third of the year, the unfortunate combination of working for a company that sold a very expensive product that might soon be made obsolete by the likes of Netflix and Comcast On-Demand and the poor economy created a perfect storm that ended in Rick losing his job. As we moved through the rest of the year, Hannah graduated from high school and got ready to embark on the next chapter of her life, Rick and his sister spent lots of time on the phone dealing with the realities of having elderly parents, and Rick started a new business venture with a colleague. All-in-all, a stressful year.
But in the midst of this, Rick took the time to tap into his creative side. He started a drawing, using the colored pencils that we had stashed around – Crayola and Rose Art pencils, mostly – none of those fancy high-end “Art” pencils. I think it started as a therapeutic endeavor. And it served its purpose. It ended up as a donation to the silent auction at church, benefitting the outreach efforts, and bringing in, I believe, the most money of any other item in the auction. Each year, everyone waits to see what Rick will create and donate. And this year, he really outdid himself. The photo below gives you an idea of how fabulous this piece is, but really doesn't do it justice. You'll have to visit the Maloney's to see the real one.
As I was considering what to write for his birthday blog, I thought of those things that I appreciate in Rick. I decided to do a “Top 5 Things I Like About Rick” list. I encourage those of you who know and love Rick to comment and let him know what you like best.
1. He’s a great father. No one loves their children more than Rick loves Hannah and Sara. He’s always been an involved. When moms of other babies my kids ages complained about their husbands not getting up with the kids, or not changing diapers, I couldn’t chime in because Rick always did those things. And I appreciated it. And it sealed a relationship with the girls that has remained close and loving ever since. They’re lucky to have him.
2. He’s a great cook. Really. Any of you who have had the opportunity to taste his cooking will agree. If you haven’t, I highly suggest that you try to weasel an invitation.
3. He’s an artist. As evidenced by the picture above, Rick has a creative streak a mile wide. I wish he had the time to indulge in this more. He builds furniture, he’s done stained glass, he takes great photographs. If you can weasel an invitation to dinner, I’ll show you all the pieces we have around the house.
4. He’s a musician. He plays the guitar and mandolin – and even when he’s noodling around, he plays well. That was one of the first things that attracted me to him, actually. I grew up in a family where, if you’re just sitting around, you’ve got a guitar or some other instrument in your lap and you’re noodling. He fit right in. After I’ve showed you the artwork, I’ll have him and Sara play you a duet.
5. He’s a really hard worker. This new business thing has great potential. After the music, you can have him tell you all about it. You’ll see how excited he is about it. And he’s been working his butt off – knowing that the monetary rewards are down the road a ways. Many, if not most of us would have given up and found something less personally rewarding that pays now. But Rick and his business partner have vision. And a great business model. And a work ethic that is hard to find these days.
So, it’s been a hard year, but Rick’s made the best of it, the best way he could. And I’m proud of him for not getting so frustrated that he gave up. And next year is going to be much better - I'm sure of it. Happy birthday, Rick. The girls and I love you.