Dad, I just want you to know, I love you…

Rooster crowing during daylight hours
Rooster crowing during daylight hours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear daughter,

The crowing of the rooster in Limay, Bataan on April 8, 2003 was a special sound, and I knew the day would be out of the ordinary.  But the day was the same as most, sun shining and hot in the Philippines.  The morning came and went without anything spectacular happening as well the afternoon and evening, nothing happened.

But then at precisely nine minutes past midnight on April 9, 2003 you entered, unexpectedly, into the world!  Stephanie, you were a little early (one and a half months) and so nothing was prepared for your arrival.

The love and close bond that we have is unexplainable to most because our type of unconditional love is rare.  I myself was reminded as I went to the refrig

Provinces and regions of the Philippines
Provinces and regions of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

erator to get a bottle of water.  On the door of the ‘fridge were four heart–shaped sticky notes and on each one hand written missives from your heart to mine; I was touched so deeply.

I read them and immediately felt guilty for ever raising my voice to you.  I embarrass you at times, I know, and I feel terrible for doing so.  I really do wish I could walk normal again, or even speak more clearly.  You have a Father who is past his prime and is disabled more than most.  However, you also have a Father whose love for his daughter is greater than most.

Only you and I know the troubles and obstacles we’ve overcome in your nine years.  Yet, the joys and triumphs far outweigh the rough moments.  And you are

September 16, 2012 — Maree, Stephanie and unknown made up for Pamada performance with CSFA

still the only girl on the planet to make me laugh!  Or cry…or…you are my world.  Thank you for the “Heart-shaped notes”, on the fridge.

I love you,


Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


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