An open letter to young Rickey

Publish Date: 
Aug 22, 2013
By Rick Fairless

DEAR YOUNG Rickey Fairless,
Believe it or not, I am you at 56 years old.

I know, you’re only 15 years old right now and you can’t fathom being 56, but it will happen quicker than you could ever imagine. 

I am writing to give you a little insight and advice on your future. I can tell you that your future is good and that you will be a very happy — strike that, a mostly happy man. But you have to go through some hard times to get here. Maybe I can offer you some words of wisdom to help make your journey in life a little easier, and maybe you’ll understand some things a little better.

You don’t realize it, but in the future, college is so dang important that without it, the odds are not good for success.

I know you have it pretty good right now, and please enjoy this special time in your life. I mean, you gotta swell girlfriend (Teresa), a nice motorcycle (Honda CL100), and lots of riding buddies (Hix, Pork, Nelson, Lips Wilson). I also know that your brother, Randy, is your riding buddy and your best friend, and I can tell you that he will be your best friend for the rest of your life.

Enjoy this time being a teenager, because your life will get complicated soon enough.

Listen, you’ve lived with asthma all your life and you need to know that it won’t get no better. The medicines will get better and the doctors will be able to control it … to a point. Later this year you will get really sick and spend several months in a special chest hospital in Tyler, Texas, for people with severe lung diseases. You and your Ma will even be told by a knucklehead doctor that you will not live to be 30 years old. Don’t believe it. Yes, you’ll struggle with severe asthma for the rest of your life, but it ain’t gonna kill ya, so don’t sweat it too much, pal.

I can tell you that you have a great work ethic and that it will pay off for you in your future. At 19, you will go to work for the Glidden Paint Co. Rickey, I wish you/I would have gone to college. You don’t realize it, but in the future, college is so dang important that without it, the odds are not good for success.

Look at it this way: there are thousands of colleges in this country, and tens of thousands of kids graduate from college every year. Well, every dang one of those kids is ahead of you in securing a good job because you only have a high school education. I wish you would go to college, Rickey, but you won’t. (Continued)