Stephanie’s 13th

Friday evening after Steph’s karate lesson we stopped to pick up the mail before going into the apartment.  There among the # 10 sized envelopes was a more square one that didn’t fit in with the others.   It was addressed to, Stephanie!

So nice, I knew that it had to be a birthday card, but from whom? I didn’t know, then I teasingly told her, “It’s from me,” but I feared she was believing me.  I blurted out, “just teasing!”

“Dad – you really need to stop teasing all the time,” Stephanie said.

I popped the trunk open and locked the doors on the car and tossed her the key fob, “You go ahead upstairs – I’ve got to get some water and stuff from the trunk.”  The stuff was a birthday card and a chocolate birthday cake…wow, buttercream frosting is so rich but good too, know what I mean?

I got upstairs and the card was a musical one from Mel & Joyce.  We have been blessed with many friends here.  Inside the card were some crisp bills.  Stephanie was astonished.  I don’t think she was used to so much attention.

Our friend’s Don & Elizabeth took us to dinner at Hemingway’s Restaurant located on the 4th floor of the original and the biggest (over 500,000 sq ft) granddaddy of all Bass Pro Shops. There were many Hemingway artifacts to admire including pictures of the author being dwarfed next to the gigantic Swordfish he caught with the rod and reel also on display.

Ernest’s career as a writer began in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. An early 20’s Corona #3 typewriter is on display in the “Wait to be seated” area of the restaurant along with many of his works.

The food was exceptional including the, “Alligator Tale” we shared for the appetizer. The buffet had so many delicious items available I couldn’t keep track. Don, Elizabeth and Stephanie all had the buffet, but I had their dinner salad (exquisite) fish and chips (choice of chips or fries) and coffee. What a meal…3 or four large beer batter breaded catfish – light-crispy and surrounding succulent fish, mmm, meal fit for a king, One more piece of that alligator tale (get the pun) and we were off to explore this humungous outdoors paradise complete with large aquariums and one that we didn’t see because i was just too tired, but they have been working on it for 10 years. Undoubtedly, it will be a magnificent exhibit to see.

We went to their bow area and for her birthday Don purchased Stephanie a compound bow to fit her size and strength. They invited her out to practice anytime she wants and tomorrow after church we are going there so Don can get the bow all set up for Stephanie.

This, I think was Stephanie’s favorite birthday, ever! Happy 13th!

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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