As I grew up, I was allowed to call them by their first names only after I had asked for, and was granted permission.
I tried to skirt this little formality with Mr. Riker. I called him "Don" once, in front of my mom. I was probably 5 and was, ahem, soundly discouraged from doing so without asking for his permission.
I never asked.
I don't think I ever called him by his first name again. Not at my high school graduation. Not at my wedding. He was always Mr. Riker or, if we were having a chummy moment, Rike.
We vacationed with Mr. Riker and his lovely wife Linda on lakes and under waterfalls several times during my elementary and middle school years. We welcomed their son Donnie John when I was in fifth grade. I remember when mom went out with her girlfriends, Mr. Riker would come over to hang with Dad and, by default, me. We'd watch Grand Ol' Opry and Hee Haw. They'd let me stay up past my bedtime and eat those big Pennsylvania Dutch Pretzels that came in this big tin drums.
He was a big, gentle, quiet part of my childhood.
Don, I'll miss you. Rest in peace.
- Good memories. I'm teary AND smiley just thinking about the lake house and the Rikers.
- Early evening. Thanks to LaJefa for an early dismissal.
- Beautiful weather - wow, it's lovely.