Over the weekend, I was happy to be part of a new beginning of an old tradition, celebrating the life of my friend Rick Stilwell, at Rickfast 2013.
This past January, Rick Stilwell, a man I’d known since high school, passed away suddenly.
Rick was no ordinary guy, though he’d surely balk at the praise he received since his passing. I think the amount of praise alone speaks to the kind of man he was despite any protests he’d mount.
I knew Rick but not as well as I wish I had. I think there are plenty of people in all of our lives who we can make that statement about. Like everyone else, there was something in me, and it’s still there, that just makes me assume that there’ll be time to make those deeper connections that don’t already exist.
Rick’s sudden death was a blow to his family, his friends and the bigger online community of people he’d built community with. Rick loved connecting people. He loved talking with friends over coffee. He enjoyed bringing people together.
One of the traditions that arose from that desire was a breakfast gathering on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I had never attended one of these gatherings, but I was usually out of town by then and wasn’t aware of them. But this year, on the first Saturday morning after our first Thanksgiving without Rick, one of this closest friends, James Kirk, organized the first “Rickfast” to gather some of Rick’s friends and family together in Rick’s honor, with the hopes of it becoming an official event.
As more and more people from Rick’s circles arrived, we had to rearrange the tables, connecting more and more of them. Two tables pulled together became three. Then we pulled another table perpendicular to the center one, forming a T. Another table. And another.
We wound up with a figure 4.
James joked that we should figure out if the number four means anything. I looked it up on a random numerology website and found that the number four symbolizes, among other things, “the principle of putting ideas into form.”
It seemed fitting.
Other than the attention Rick would surely call undue, I think he would have been pleased seeing friends get together for a meal and fellowship.
You don’t have to have known Rick to start a Rickfast tradition of your own. Pick a day, even if it’s not connected to a holiday. Gather a few close friends. And make it a tradition.
Rick would be pleased with that, too.