RIP, Rick Tiger

I was stunned Wednesday morning when a mutual friend messaged me about Rick Tiger’s death. My first thought went to his wife Joyce, their family, and all of the people who love him. All of us who were his friends. We are many. Our header photo is the VFW folks who were present when he sang for us in July. It was a fun night. One couple left early, because the husband wasn’t well. Lenny greeted Rick in heaven, I think.

Some of Rick Tiger’s Songs
Coffee and Conversations Here Daily!

This photo is a pic I sent Rick after he appeared at our VFW in July. We had a very small crowd, but we had such an intimate evening. Rick sat at a table with all of us and asked about our lives, what we did, and got to know us as much as he could. He was wonderful, as always. He laughed at himself, was such a host, and did what he knows best. Spread love, lessons, and support for our troops, and prayers for our great nation.

At the VFW that night, I told him how I’m very curious about what it takes to write a song. He told me, “next time I come to town, we will write one. Then you’ll know!” Bless his generous heart.

Back to the picture. Rick has a song from a few years ago, called, “Coffee and Conversation.” It’s a lovely song. The Babe and I are reminded of it every day we sit on our deck and rock in those chairs. The song reminds the Babe of how his Grandparents started the day on their farm. As kids, he and siblings spent a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa during the summer. The whole scenario is lost on most of America these days. It’s just one of Rick’s beautiful stories. I’m so glad to have met and been friends with this man. What a gift. Him. His Music. His Prayers whenever we asked. He leaves a huge empty spot in the lives of many.

How meaningful for my Goldie, the two year old yellow lab, pestered me out of my office/studio, and outside to sit on the deck. Rick told me we would write our song out here. Coincidence? I think not. I firmly believe in messages from God and those who have gone to heaven before us.

Instead of writing words with Rick, at this spot, I’m writing them about him, with a broken heart complete with tears. My words? They pale in comparison with what he can do with a story. His Stories! Included are misfits and born again. Whiskey and virtue. Forgiveness and Jesus. Joyce, my how he loved Joyce! And he always will. We will miss you fiercely, Rick. Hope all who read this will tell a Rick story, and heal their heart a little. It helped me just to finally be able to sit down and write it after avoiding it all week. And that pesky puppy Goldie took me to where I needed to do it. Thanks, Rick. For everything. And especially for writing with me this morning. I’ll never forget you.

Black and Blue Heart

This is dedicated to my friend, Jimmy Weber, who just released a new album. You need to read this review, which describes each and every song in detail. Jimmy deserves all of this praise and more. I was never a fan of country music (I listened here and there, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Martina McBride), until the Babe and I went to see him perform on his own. We loved him when he played with Billy McGuigan. No one can play the guitar like he can. Hands down, the best player there is. We’re lucky he settled locally, so we can hear him live several times a year (pre-pandemic).

After I downloaded the album, I sat at my desk and listened. I just listened to the music and the words. As a songwriter, Jimmy weaves tales with his lyrics, and they are all heartfelt stories, very raw with human emotion. He and his friend, Jason “Jake” Mayer, crafted these lyrical stories during the pandemic, and collaborated well during many Facebook Live events last fall. They were fun to participate in, and he introduced many of these new songs live. I love to listen to the stories and let the words and music touch my soul. Good music does that. This is beyond good; it’s superior.

Jimmy and Jake shared a lot of their hearts in these songs. As a person who was alone in this hard, cruel world for too many hard years, I recalled many, many personal hurts while listening to their words. I shared the emotion. You will, too. Your heart has to be in the right place to feel it. As a woman with a strong-silent type husband in the Babe, they described what men often can’t say out loud. The loneliness, the bone-crushing, soul stabbing pain of an often-broken heart. I’ve lived it, and I remember it all too well.

That said, it’s not a downer at all. It offers hope, the thoughts and belief in faithful love every human longs for. And it’s made beautiful. There is also a funny tune, “The Lord’s Got My Soul,” with the great Ray Scott. It’s a song to brighten any dark day. The music business has to be hard on relationships, and there are stories about that, too. Don’t give up, guys. You’re both good men with good hearts. Your dreams will come true about your careers and private lives, too. You South Dakota men all have the best hearts. (The Babe is from there, too).

Get Jimmy’s music – you’ll appreciate it. It may even lead to me asking the Babe to slow dance with me in the living room by the fireplace tonight. Wonder what he’ll say? See you all tomorrow!

South Dakota Sky

It is a spectacular Sunday morning out there friends! The dogs slept in (until about 6:30 a.m.), so the Babe and I got to sleep in, too. Great way to start a Sunday. When I got coffee and went out on the deck, woo hoo, it was a bit chilly! But not enough to get a jacket, robe, or blanket.

And this all has to do with the photo in the header this morning. I looked up to the sky above us, and told the Babe, “This is a South Dakota Sky today!” He agreed and we drank coffee. You see, he is from South Dakota, and the only vacation I got to go on as a kid was to South Dakota. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Phyllis wanted to take either my brother or me along to have another kid to keep their son company. Rod was (and still is) five years younger than me. We had so much fun. My aunt and uncle were gracious hosts, and made sure we had a good time.

The absolute most beautiful sight I ever saw and remember to this day was Mount Rushmore in the morning. The sky was this exact color. South Dakota Sky Blue. It wasn’t humid, which dilutes the deep, intense color, and the sun shone exactly correctly. I’ve been disappointed in later years to view the monument in the afternoon, and the sky isn’t as pretty. Usually it’s cloudy, and just not the same.

I love South Dakota almost as much as Nebraska, I’m a city girl, from a very blue collar family, and I had all brothers, which makes you have a unique view of the world, for a girl. On Dad’s side of the family, I only have one girl cousin, in fact. Outnumbered, to say the least. We’d shoot marbles in the dirt, do a demo derby car crash up in the backyard, and lots of other fun stuff. Much like a country girl might. But Mom stopped letting me play with the neighbor kids at about nine or ten. I had to behave like a “lady” by then.

I remember in the 1980s, when I was first divorced, there was a calendar called “Dakota Men.” It had hunky ranchers and farmers from North and South Dakota, pictured going about their daily tasks. Tame, compared to the things produced today, it enchanted me. They were all so handsome! I always wanted “to meet me one of them! “

Fast forward to the late 1990s. I did meet one. And there went my heart. The Babe was so worth waiting for. His eyes remind me of those South Dakota Skies. Every day. I’m so lucky. And so is he. We’re perfect for each other. Yes, there is occasional strife. The advantage to falling in love later in life, is you learn which battles to pick. You learn most of what people argue about is unimportant. You both check your egos at the door, if you know what I mean. You’re still an individual, but you’re also a team member.

I know marriage is completely different without raising children. Aside from the obvious, children are one of the things people disagree about. How many, if any, to have. How far apart. Is there such a thing anymore as a primary caregiver? My children’s father rarely, if ever, changed a diaper at all. It was the end of that era when I was married before. The Babe and his brother grew up babysitting for his younger sisters while their Mom worked as a waitress. He still loves babies, and isn’t above changing diapers.

Anyway, in the spirit of this whole South Dakota Theme today, I want to share a video and song with you today, written and performed by another Dakota man, and featuring yet another one! Yes, they’re both hunky, talented, and make beautiful music. Jason “Jake” Mayer wrote this song as a tribute to his family, and it’s beautiful. Jimmy Weber joins him, and he is always a treat. The song, “The Plains of South Dakota (featuring Jimmy Weber)” is one I know will go far.

It’s so cool to know people this talented. I get a whole blog and book(s) to tell my stories; these guys have a much shorter time to do so. And then putting it to music. I’m amazed at how they do this. Keep an eye on Jake Mayer. He’s going to do great things.

Jimmy Weber does, and will keep growing and going. He is a member of the South Dakota Music Hall of Fame, a well deserved honor. Like most of his fans, I’m waiting for his new music to be released. I hear from a reliable source there is one coming. Thanks, Handsome Jake!

Folks, I have a lot of writing to do today. I’m sending my first chapter and other homework to my Book Coach today, and we’ll have a conference about it on Thursday. I cannot believe it’s due already. I may have spent too much time gawking at the sky this morning, but trust me. It was well worth it!

Have a beautiful Sunday. Be Thankful. Be Kind. Be Courteous. I’m so grateful for all of you, reading daily as you do. We’ll meet again tomorrow, my friends. I look forward to it. Be Safe!

Great Advice

Magical Monday

The Babe couldn’t pick Gavin up today, so I got to. I had big plans. I love the Sun Valley Nursery in Gretna. Since Goldie ate most of my re-planted geraniums from previous visits to Sun Valley, I decided to treat myself and take Gavin so he could see it. It’s overwhelming how many different varieties of geraniums they have cultivated.

We pulled into their parking lot at 10 a.m. on the dot. No one was around. I called their number, and they said they were overwhelmed this year and sold their entire stock of geraniums out. I’m happy for them but sad for me! What an awesome year they had. The only other business they do is at the Christmas season. They grow their own versions of Poinsettias. I just may go browse this winter, but with dogs in the house, I probably won’t buy one. They’re poisonous to dogs. I just can’t trust them to not munch. That’s ok, though.

Thanks to John Cleveland, who wished me this yesterday.

We had a quiet day yesterday. Father’s Day is still a tough holiday for me. Dad’s been gone a long time, but I still feel the void in my life created when he was no longer here. I wonder if anyone might miss me that much someday. And that’s it, we all think we have until “someday.” Some do, many do not. Too often, we have friends or family become ill, and we lose them, despite great medical treatment, prayers, meals, fund raisers, and car pools. It’s so difficult when it’s a child. We all would trade places with a child in those circumstances.

When it is unexpected, the grief hits you where you live. And it moves in on you. You didn’t get to say goodbye. You had one more fishing trip planned. You forgot to ask her for the recipe she made so well. You had no time to prepare. A heart attack, an aneurysm, a stroke, and they can be maimed for life or lose their life altogether. And the grief is deep, and ugly, and hard. We don’t want to deal with this, of all things. It is too hard. It’s too long. It’s not getting better. How do people do it? We do because we have no choice in the matter. None.

What can we do? Pray. Pray for them, their family, their kids, and their parents. Pray for yourself, too. You will get through it. You don’t want to. But you will. And your life will be significantly different than it was. You get to go back in your memories and laugh with them again. Take the part of them you loved and incorporate some of it into your life. Help people. Deliver meals on wheels. Volunteer at the soup kitchen. Help someone else. In doing that, you help yourself. Over time, it does get better.

During the worst year of my life, I was a single mom, 37, with three kids. I lost: my best friend in March, my Grandma in May, my ex-father in law in September, my father in December. I was numb by the time summer came around, and I broke up with someone I’d dated a long time. He was trying to hurry me up in grieving for my friend. You can’t put a limit of two weeks on it. It’s impossible. My kids lost both grandpas in 6 months. It was a blow to all of us. I never thought it would be better. It took such a long time. But I use 1988 as an example of how a person can be stronger than they think they ever could. That doesn’t leave you, either. It’s a foundation for more. God will lighten your load. You have to trust in Him.

Sometimes, people write blogs or articles about their friends. The story telling, however it’s done, is so very important in your healing. As you tell your stories, you start to smile again. You become so grateful you had that person for a dad, or a brother, or a friend. Especially for a friend. I’m lucky to know a few people who are talented enough to write songs about their friends, dads, and grandpas.

Jason “Jake” Mayer wrote this beautiful song after he lost a lifelong friend Jason Diekmann. Jason passed from a stroke. What a tragedy. Jake wrote this beautiful song and dedicated it to his friend, about his loss. Jake’s good friend Jimmy Weber did guitar and background vocals. Jake, this is the first I’ve heard you sing, you’re good. There’s a lot of heartfelt emotion in your voice here. Hugs and prayers for you, Jake, and for Jimmy too. Here’s Jake Mayer, singing “The Rain’s Falling Down Again” (featuring Jimmy Weber). From what I understand, it’s available for download, through all the usual services. I understand it will be on the radio soon. I wish you much success with this, Jake.

Thanks to everyone who took time to read today. Talking about loss and grief may be uncomfortable, but it is so important. Dysfunctional grieving can take a real toll on families. Talk about it. Write about it. Do something with it. It will be a lasting tribute to your friend. Share, and your grief won’t be so heavy. I hope to see you tomorrow.