(30 Days of Truth – Day 4 – Something that is part of your routine that you enjoy)
As I started thinking about today’s topic, I realized how little routine I have in my life. I guess it’s no wonder if you read my loving husband’s blog from yesterday. You know the one. He talked about his lack of routine. I guess the same thing can be said for me. But I decided to really pay attention to my day today and I came up with a couple of things I do, routinely, every day. I wake up and get ready for work. There is NOTHING about this that I enjoy. Ok, moving on. I get in my truck and drive to work. If there’s anything I enjoy less than waking up and mornings, it’s my commute. I hate it but it’s a burden I shall bear to have a job I truly enjoy doing.
My days at work vary minute to minute. I never do the same thing twice. I have certain tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis, but our business is so fluid that I can’t plan or schedule those out on a routine basis. I just have to make time between everything else to make sure they get done. Suffice it to say, I have no routines at work.
Oh, but wait a minute. I do have one. My lunch break. I thoroughly enjoy my ME time at lunch. I will almost always eat at my desk, door closed and my internet browser blazing. I use this 30 minute break in my day to satisfy my guiltiest pleasure. I read Rickey Stokes. What the heck is Rickey Stokes you ask? Well, you must not be from Southeast Alabama. Rickey is this guy back in my hometown of Dothan, Alabama. He calls himself a journalist and has a press pass and reports the news. However, all three of those descriptors are very liberally applied. VERY! Gil often refers to www.RickeyStokesNews.com (RSN) as the TMZ of Dothan. I suppose this is why I love reading the site and why I can’t stand to miss a day.
I don’t know Rickey personally and I have no idea how or why Rickey began reporting the news. I do know from reading his website that he is a former coroner who now owns a bail bonding company. He has a house on Lake Eufaula at Hardridge Creek and seems to spend a lot of time there with friends and family. I first started reading his site several years ago when I was directed to go look at pictures of a traffic accident. Yep, you read that right. Most of the stories on RSN contain photos of wrecked cars, whether it be little fender benders or full on fatality scenes. I have to note that Rickey does NOT post photos of people or bodies from these accidents, but he will turn all paparazzi on you if you commit a crime and find yourself arrested. Rickey is considerate of the families of these victims and holds out posting photos and names until the next of kin has been notified.
If you are interested in checking out RSN, be warned that some of the stores are not for the faint of heart. Rickey and his league of staff report on the local news which often includes commission meetings, car wrecks, structure fires, edged weapon assaults, drug round ups and dead bodies. And those are just today’s headlines. Rickey is often found ranting and raving about local and state politics. This is what keeps me coming back for more. Rickey even has a section called Hunt ‘n Fish where readers can submit photos of their most recent wildlife carcasses…er….trophies. If you capture an albino turkey with your cell phone camera, the first place you are going to want to share that is on RSN.
I also often ask myself, “Good grief, where did these people learn how to spell?” I keep telling Gil I’m going to write Rickey a letter and offer up my very limited editing abilities for FREE if he’ll just let me have a shot at those articles before he posts them. He often misuses words and phrases and you can forget about spacing and punctuation. But apparently, no one cares. RSN gets an average of 91,000 hits a day in a city of 60,000 people. Obviously, I don’t care. He’s reporting the news, local gossip, outing corrupt businessmen and politicians, and even helps out the local animal shelter with a weekly Pet of the Week who’s time is running out. If there’s a charity event, Rickey lets everyone know about it. If the Sheriff is working alongside his loyal deputies on the overnight shift on New Year’s Eve, he lets the public know that, too. What makes Rickey and his stories so much fun, though, is his complete inability to report objectively on anything. Rickey may deliver the news with tons of sarcasm and misspellings, but people just keep right on reading what he has to say. My old friend Thomas once told me he “would like to go on a ride-a-long with Rickey one day, maybe as a guest spell checker.”
There are some days I find myself laughing out loud at Rickey’s mockery of a city politician. On other days I may fly into a fit of outrage over the anti-gambling policies of my former home state. I know what it is about this lunchtime ritual that brings me joy and I may have to look past the opinions, gossip, dead animals and gross misspellings to find what I’m looking for, but I do find it each and every day. Every day Rickey manages to provide me with a piece of home. Even though I now live hundreds of miles away, it’s nice to know my daily routine keeps me in touch with the place that for me will always be home.