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Rick Ryckeley's picture

You see, it’s really not my fault. When God was handing out patience, the line was extremely long and I got tired of waiting.

I’m not impatient, mind you. Just don’t like waiting. Christmas was the first time I became aware of this – while growing up at 110 Flamingo Street.

Christmas only came once a year and someone put it way at the end. Back then I thought it was just to make us kids behave.

A year. Now if you’re a kid, that’s a long time to be good and wait for anything – even gifts. That’s why I’d sneak downstairs on Christmas Eve and look for Santa.

Never saw him ‘cause I fell asleep before morning, but even the big red guy knew I didn’t like to wait. Still, he never changed the date. Christmas was always at the end of the year, and I had to wait.

One Wait I Can Do Without.

Another thing I didn’t like waiting for occurred in Old Mrs. Crabtree’s third-grade class every Friday afternoon.

Friday was test day. To say yours truly didn’t like taking tests in school would be incorrect. I didn’t mind taking tests. It was the whole “waiting to get the grade back thing” that I didn’t care for – along with the waiting for the whooping that I’d get from Dad when he got home and learned about my grades.

Wait on Me.

You’d think as I got older and more mature, the whole waiting thing would’ve gotten easier. Nope. It hasn’t. Just ask The Wife.

When it’s time to go, I can be out of the shower, dressed and sitting in the car in less than 10 minutes. Half an hour later, The Wife is finally ready, but she can’t go. She has to wait on me.

While waiting on her, I’ve gotten busy doing something. People waiting on me; now that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not the one doing the waiting.
Sometimes, It’s Worth the Wait.

What now seems forever ago, I waited 18 hours for something – the longest wait in my adult life. Oddly, it was one time I didn’t mind. What was there at the end was well worth any wait.

When I held The Boy in my arms for the first time, it changed everything, except how I felt about waiting.

There was a lifetime of stuff I couldn’t wait to show him: all the things we did while living at 110 Flamingo Street. Soon he too could have the same kind of adventures we enjoyed: water balloon fights, flips off rope swings into creeks, and riding trees. Unfortunately, he first had to learn how to wait. Babies can’t be riding trees.

Some Waits Are Far Worse Than Others.

Last weekend, The Wife and me, we did a lot of waiting. We waited for nurses. We waited for doctors. We waited as Dad was wheeled away for tests and came back to his room to wait for the results.

Five days after being transported to the hospital, he was released with a definite “maybe” as to what had caused his life-threatening condition. The doctor said we’ll just have to wait to see if it happens again then treat it if it does.

So what advice could a lifetime expert about not liking to wait give about waiting?

Simple — any wait is much easier to endure when you have loving family members around. Even so, I still don’t like waiting for Christmas.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, is in his third decade as a firefighter and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]

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