After 40 years as a computer programmer and game developer—and the passing of his wife of 47 years—Rick has retired and is now living in Ye Olde Folks Home, where he still tinkers with tech and likes to write these amusing and/or thoughtful tales about his storied life.

First Chapel Service at Ye Olde Folks Home
A Yearly Ritual at Menards
“Mr. Loftus, the Town Hero”
The FCAL Project
Pepe Le Pew Finds New Lodgings
In Memoriam: Dale Lear
Bingo Bedlam at Ye Olde Folks Home
There’s a Shortage of Perfect Movies…
One Day at the DMV
A Visitor from Microsoft
“He Who Should Not Be Named”
Downton… Abbey?
This Home is a Liver-Free Zone
My 9/11 Rememberances
My Yearly Pumpkin Spice Rant
Done In By Baker’s Square
My Eulogy for Alice
“Dear Rikki…”
A Clean, Well-lighted Place for Books
Memories of my First Computer
A Little Excitement at the Staff Meeting
The Tale of Mrs. Butler
Sun, Sand, and a Margarita
“Thou Shalt Not Steal”
Troubleshooting at Ye Olde Folks Home
Stories of my Mother
I’ve Heard Angels Sing
Elevator Mishap at the Eye Clinic
One Day at Fair, Isaac
Saturday Morning Cartoons
A Sprig of Parsley
Fun With Recruitment Ads
Leave Her to Heaven
Bring me Dave Bringle!
Beware! The Oldsters Are Coming!
Life Among the Progressives
A Family Ritual While Watching Masterpiece
The Unforgettable General Oppy
“Don’t Even THINK About Parking Here”
A Dubious Plan Gone Awry
The Singing Christmas Tree!
One Day in the Hospital Lab
The Legend of the Broken Timer
Nelson’s Fruit Stand
This One Time in Glee Club…
Star Trek References for the Win
Family Psalm, Stuck in Lodi
Vacation in Branson
Clyde and Ruth Revisited
COVID Policies During my Wife’s Fatal Illness
I Guess I’m the Shadow IT Department Now
The Tale of Clyde and Ruth
My Garden of Gethsemane Story
We Might Get a Virus!

The Unforgettable General Oppy

I was mining old Facebook posts for anything depicting my experiences in the Army to help a granddaughter with a school project when I realized I have never told the story of Mr. Oppy.

My first assignment out of Army training was as a medic on a general surgery ward, doing dressing changes, helping to ambulate patients, taking vitals, and so forth.

The staff on the ward decided to give me a special assignment. While they took care of everyone else on the floor, I would be taking care of one particular gentleman in a room at the far end of the ward, furthest from the nurse’s station.

This peculiar and one-sided arrangement was due to the fact that everyone on the ward hated dealing with this particular patient, who had been in that room for many months, with ulcers on his legs that, for some reason I never could fathom, did not seem to ever heal.

And so it was that I was introduced to Mr. Oppy, retired four-star general and long-time resident of the ward.

Mr. Oppy was… eccentric. You could say he marched to the beat of a different drum. Unusual. One of a kind. Unforgettable.

Well, let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? Mr. Oppy was barking mad.

Nobody else on the ward could put up with his nonsense, but I figured he was harmlessly dotty and didn’t mind humoring him.

He had a cleanliness fetish. I would bring in linens for him to wash with, and he would insist that I hold each of them up for his inspection. If he saw a speck or flaw of any kind, I would need to switch in a new one.

I confess sometimes I picked off the speck with my fingers out of his sight and returned with the same cloth, which invariably passed inspection the second time.

Day after day I would lay out a sterile field, wash his wounds with normal saline solution, and pack them with gauze, while listening to him tell rambling stories from his life.

And then, every day, he would insist on my rolling in a payphone that we had on a huge wheeled cart. I would have to swab the entire thing down with alcohol to sterilize it before he would consent to touch it. Once it passed muster, I would withdraw and close the door so he could make a series of super sekrit hush hush afternoon phone calls of great importance.

One day when I came in he immediately wanted to know, “What happened to your wristwatch?”

I was surprised he had noticed its absence so quickly. I explained that I had mistakenly left it on my lunch tray that very day, and that it had not survived a trip through the hospital’s dishwashing machine. This elicited a hearty chuckle.

The next day when I came in he indicated a catalog he had left out for me. “I took the liberty of calling the CEO of Timex yesterday and had him rush me that catalog… There are watches on pages 10, 22 and 31 that I think would look good and are within your price range.”

I picked up the catalog and flipped to the specified pages, which did indeed have the items he claimed, and he discussed each one from memory with an uncanny level of detail.

Yes, quite an unforgettable character, that Mr. Oppy. He was still there in his room when I left for my next assignment, and was sad to see me go. I think he was rather fond of me.

Oddly enough, the feeling was mutual.