Some final thoughts from Rick


 Editor's note: Rick Watson, who wrote this weekly column and served as a reporter and photographer on our staff, died suddenly early Thursday morning. That night we discovered Rick had written a final column, and had printed it out for his wife, Jilda, to look at before he emailed it to us. She has graciously passed it along to us, so that we may all have a final amusement from our friend and co-worker. 


I have been under the weather this past week. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I did several projects around the house. When I figured in the humidity, it was as hot as the surface of the sun.

The last two projects had been on our home to do list for ages. We needed to replace our mailbox. Jilda thought that since we were replacing the post, why not get a bigger mailbox that’s big enough for a microwave?

She’s been a gifted painter for most of her life. We decided to paint blueberries and honeybees on the new box.

Our house also drives delivery drivers and first responders crazy because the entrance to our driveway is about 150 feet from the mailbox. This means that everyone whizzes by our driveway, and they have to turn around and come back up the hill.

So, not only did Jilda paint blueberries and honeybees on our mailbox, she painted a new address sign for our driveway.

The only problem was I think I saw sun flares as I dug the holes for the installations.

The next day I felt like death eating a cracker, so on Monday I went to the doctor. As he heard my story, he was kind enough not to chide me aloud, but I could tell by how he arched his eyebrows that he was witnessing a “goofy alert.”

I was dehydrated, but he also found a bacterial infection in my blood work.  As he explained my blood counts, he said that it didn’t appear that I have COVID-19, but if symptoms didn’t improve in a few days to get tested.

Before leaving, his nurse gave me a shot of antibiotics with a needle as big as a kindergarten pencil. I enjoyed that so  much. He also gave me a script.

Dropping off the script at the pharmacy, I didn’t wait but told them I would come back in the afternoon.

On the way back to the pharmacy that afternoon, I slowly rolled through a three-way stop sign in Empire. I’d gone about a mile when I noticed a state trooper behind me with lights flashing. I always pull over so they can pass, but when I pulled over, he pulled over behind me. I realized I was about to get a ticket.

The last moving violation I got was over 25 years ago.

He was a nice guy. He went to his car and wrote the ticket. Apparently he found it a little humorous that my last violation was rolling through that very stop sign back when Bill Clinton was in the White House.

He smiled as he walked back to my vehicle  and he handed me the ticket through my open window.  

“It’s been awhile since you’ve had a ticket," he said, "so I’m going to let you off with a warning.”

I could have hugged his neck.


Rick Watson was a columnist and author. His book, "Life Goes On," is available on His columns and stories are archived and can be searched at His blog is at