Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rick Phelps is the man, not dementia


So often I post about my struggles with this disease, sometimes I think it's good to post something about me. Tell you who Rick Phelps is, the man, not dementia.

I have been very lucky. I met the love of my life, my best friend, and my wife some thirty years ago.

We have had a very good life together. We both worked two jobs our entire marriage. We've worked hard, played even harder.

Always took family vacations. Did things together. I have had many passions in my life, but I suppose motorcycles ranks number one.

Over the years I have probably owned a dozen or so. I started out in my early twenties and have rode till about four years ago.

I also had a passion for music. I played guitar with some of the best around this area. As kids we thought we were the bee's knees.

One of my very best friends, Dan Mitchell was a huge influence on me during my younger years. Dan was/is very talented record producer in Nashville now.

In the early eighties he moved to Nashville and has been there since, working with the likes of Tim McGraw, Reba, Alabama, Willie Nelson and on and on. He owns and operates a recording studio, he's a producer, song writer, and has managed many famous acts.

I...I stayed here. I knew I didn't have the talent for Nashville, nor was ever going to have. But the times we had playing music is some of the best times of my life.

I decided that public work was were I would make my mark, and Phyllis June and I began are career in EMS in 1984. She still runs squad to this day. I of course was forced to retire some four years ago.

One of my other passions was law enforcement. I had been in law enforcement for many year, then went to the private security sector and then on to having my own private investigation business.

I met some very famous people during this time. Worked with acts like Trace Adkins, REO Speedwagon, Sawyer Brown, Aretha Franklin, and most recently acts like Lady Antebellum.

One of my favorite stories I love to tell is the time Tim McGraw met Rick Phelps...people just look at me like I'm nuts. lol

I peed with Randy Owens of Alabama fame. Something not many know and my wife wishes I would forget...I had a shirt on that said "I choked Linda Lovelace" at the time and I remember he and I laughed about that and he said you want to sell it???

I said, "No, but you can sign it", and he of course did...

I worked what you would call behind the scenes for many of these groups. They all had their private security, it was them who I worked with but met some very good people.

Who were surprising down to earth people for the most part. The one we had most trouble with in my tenor was Janet Jackson. Some artists think that their every whim is your command.

And it was for Miss Jackson. Her entourage had to jump through so many hoops. Her bottled water must be placed in the fridge in the green room with all the labels facing forward.

She had to have the ice changed every 30 minutes. She demanded a stretch limo from the airport, to the venue, back to the airport to board her private jet immediately after the concert.

The fruit in her room had to be arranged in a certain way. There was to be no one speak to her while she was backstage...and on and on.

I was fortunate to meet some very famous people. Some of the nicest were Trace Atkins who was very, very laid back. And then Gov. Arnold Shwartzenagger.

I spent three days around the Governor and I can tell you without a doubt he loves America. He loves our troops, and he loves to make movies.

Know matter what you see in Arnold's movies, he's no more then maybe 5'7", maybe 5'8"tall, on a good day. Only thing I could figure out about that was it was the camera angle during a movie shoot that made him look so tall.

He was built, everyone knows that but tall...not so much.

Once I went to get Ray Steven's for his show at his hotel and when I was allowed access to his room, Mr. Stevens was doing a line of coke in the bathroom.

I don't know who was more embarrassed, him or me. Do I arrest him, charge him with a cocain possession or just pretend it didn't happen.

I chose the latter. There were about 20,000 fans waiting to see him preform, and I wasn't about to be the one to haul Ray Steven's to jail.

He was polite, courteous, and very, very talk-a-tive after our little encounter....

So many stories, so little time. I also owned an operated a body removal business. We had several funeral homes contracted and we would take the deceased from point A to point B.

Be it wherever. We had many out of town transfers and even out of state runs we would do for these funeral   homes.

Phyllis June worked right along side me. We had about six employees, and loved doing what we were doing.

What may seem morbid to some, was providing a service to the funeral home and treating every family we came into contact with, with the respect they deserved.

Phyllis and I love the outdoors. We love camping, being at the beach, or taking all the girls to a water park, zoo, etc.

I love to fish. I love to just relax in the outdoors. Doing nothing sometimes and other times working all day.

We both to this day volunteer a local medical clinic here called "The Hope Clinic". A place where individuals can go for medical treatment at no cost to them.

It's a very good program and we are both blessed to be able to be a small part of it for the past several years.

I would also like to tell you about my daughter. Jodi who left this world way too early at the age of 23. Jodi passed away August 21, 1997.

She left behind a husband, and two small children. One three, on just turned two.

The day she died my world stopped turning. And it took years for me to come to grips with this tragedy. I blamed everyone, and everything.

I was lost for so long. Once again if not the love and understanding of a caring wife, I would not have survived this.

Phyllis June indeed saved my life back in those days. She knew how I was hurting, and let things go for a time.

After many consulers and years of grieving we both found peace in our pastor who told me he had no idea why such a young girls died when she did.

Know one does. But he did know it was God's will. Not his doing, but his will. We miss her, and one of my constant fears is forgetting about her.

This has just been a view if you will into my life. A life that is not defined because of dementia. It is defined by the people around me.

My faith, my family, my friends. That's what defines me. Those who have known me for years know that dementia is just another bump in the road that I have been dealt, for whatever reason.

I took this disease and met it head on from the very day I was diagnosed. Dementia does not define me. It never will...