Yesterday as I watched Rick’s family smile, hold back tears, rest, sigh, laugh and cry, Kim asked me if I could say a few words today.  Of course I said yes.  Last night I realized I would need way more than a few words.  So I closed my eyes, thought of Rick and there he was offering two words from our past.
This is the story that I believe Rick would want me to tell:

I’m not sure how many of you are aware of this, but in 1966 Rick McCullough and I invented the Podcast, the Satirical, Improvisational,  AUDIO  podcast, to be specific.   Once a month or so, we would get together in my garage, borrow my brother’s reel to reel tape recorder (as long as he wasn’t home) and make fun of Television shows.  The target of our first episode was the action drama Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, starring Richard Basehart.

Now Rick, being Rick, came up with the idea to use opposites in our titles.  The opposite of Bottom was Top, the opposite of Sea was Land and apparently he felt the opposite of Voyage was Journey.  So Voyage to the bottom of the sea  became Journey to the Top of the Land.   Then Rich became Poor, Hard became Easy, Base became Top and Hart became Kidney.  Richard Basehart was now PoorEasy TopKidney.

We laughed so hard we had to re-record the intro at least three times. 

Our friend Mike Galanis showed up, late as usual, so Rick declared him to be this week’s non-regular.  Actors who were not regulars on the show had very few lines and always got attacked by the monsters.
It was now time to record the opening scene.  In every episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the sea, their Submarine would get rocked by an explosion or a monster or both.  Lights would flash.  Pipes would burst.  Smoke, fire and water would fill the screen. Then the Captain would call to damage control.

We started the recorder.  Rattled and dropped anything on my dad’s workbench that would make noise.
We grunted and groaned.  Then Rick seized the microphone and shouted “Damage Control, REPORT”.
Non regular Galanis came back with, “there is a huge hole in the side of the vessel, there is water everywhere, the reactor just floated into the sea and…”  as he finished for some reason Galanis broke into an English accent saying   “fellas there’s a monster down here”.

We stopped the tape and laughed for at least ten minutes.  Then we listened to it over and over.  We could not finish AND because my brother would be home soon, we had to erase the evidence and put the contraband recorder back where it belonged.

A few months later I blew out my knee in a track meet.  I was TOTALLY depressed.  I wasn’t in the mood to do anything except mope and feel sorry for myself.  I sat in my living room, just staring at the TV, for days.

Suddenly,  outside our living room window I heard, “This is Admiral Pooreasy Topkidney…Damage Control Report. “  Rick had made Galanis lay down under the window and from beneath the window came  “Fellas there’s a Monster down here”.

I did not want to even grin, but when these guys appeared in my picture window mimicking poor Galanis getting attacked by the monster…I started laughing…they started laughing…tears of joy fell everywhere.

When Rick spoke to me last night, all he said was “Pooreasy Topkidney”.
I knew exactly what he meant.  I grabbed the bible in the nightstand, instantly found Psalms, and there it was:
Psalm 100 verse 1:
Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord, all the earth.

We must take the time to grieve.  But we must also understand that Rick wants us to carry on.  It is up to all of us to fill the void created by his passing and make the kind of joyful noise that would make the man who invented Pooreasy Topkidney proud.