Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rick

This is Rick.

When I had joined the Santa Cruz Center almost two years earlier, I knew little about Rick other than the fact that he had an older brother who lived back East who was a long-time disciple (and kick-ass runner). Rick, himself, kept a very low profile.

For most of my senior year in high school, however, Rick was my savior. He drove way out of his way every Sunday night to pick me up a block from my dad's house (from where I had snuck out) so that we could then drive an hour north to the S.F. Center meetings. It was on those drives that I got to know him. He's a dynamic and eminently capable man in just about every field in which he endeavors. I owe him a lot.

Before I graduated from school, Rick had been living in his own home in Cupertino, California with his long-time, live-in girlfriend. But as my school year progressed -- and as the fledgling San Jose Center lost more members -- it seemed inevitable that we'd eventually have to hold our Center meetings at Rick's house. We couldn't do so, however, as long as Rick's girlfriend (as nice as she was) lived there.

Rick knew this and sometime before I graduated in June 1983, he broke up with her and we opened the new San Jose Center. That's where I went to live immediately upon graduation from high school that June. Not only did Rick give me a room to stay in, he gave me a good paying job at his own small landscape construction company.

Of all the reasons I have to be grateful to Rick -- and there are many -- the most important is this: he taught me how to work. I had held part-time jobs before -- mainly washing dishes at various places -- but I'd never had to work a full eight hours in a day and then be expected to come back the next day (and then the next) and do it again. To make the transition for me harder still, landscaping was hard labor.

Early in my first week on the job, for example, Rick dropped me off at a job site with a sack lunch and a shovel and told me to start digging a trench for some new sprinklers we were installing. He told me he'd pick me up at the end of the day. But I just couldn't do it. After six hours of digging (with an extended lunch thrown in), I just had to sit down in the shade.

Rick pulled up a little while later, took one look at my exhausted and defeated expression, and laughed. By the end of that summer, however, I could dig for a full day and still have the energy to go out for a run in the local hills after work.

As we moved towards August Celebrations '83, the San Jose Center was down to just Rick and me (with Elizabeth and Prakash having migrated to the San Francisco Center by then). Nevertheless, Rick and I couldn't have been more optimistic about the long-term prospects for our little Center.

We were enthusiastic. We had confidence in Sevika, our Center leader who was still coming down once a week from San Francisco. And neither Rick nor I lacked for self-confidence (for better or for worse).

I haven't spoken to Rick in a few years, but I hear he's doing well. He's married and he and his wife are raising two teen aged boys.

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