Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Diversion From Normal

My apologies for the leanness of our books postings lately. Frankly, the stuff we have up now is among the best I can suggest. I do have a couple of notables you need to be aware of, one new, and one so in demand since December that I have only been able to bring in 4 copies since Dec. 9. I'll say more later.

Since I no longer post original commentary on any other blogs, I beg your indulgence today as I pay tribute to a true New Albany downtown pioneer and champion of revitalization.

My friend Rick Carmickle died Thursday. Of the hundreds of people I've met in Southern Indiana over the past 3 years, Rick was among my closest friends. He kick-started the downtown merchants association. He offered himself for public service in elected office. But most of all, he believed in New Albany and was damned if he was going to let anybody see it die.

Carmickle's Photography was the epitome of a service business with integrity. Rick bristled, of course, if anyone challenged his integrity, but he always made sure his clients were happy. Along with his wife Karen, Rick fought the good fight to build a business, knowing that his faith in a resurgent NA downtown would someday be rewarded.

Selfless to a fault, Rick could not abide insincerity and though he was no shrinking violet when it came to calling a pile of manure horseshit, no one will tell you he didn't have faith in his hometown.

Rick was distinct from many of my friends. His acceptance was unalloyed. There was no artifice in him. You always knew how Rick felt about things. I was fortunate to spend a few moments with his wife on Wednesday, and though I felt a frisson when reminded that he was scheduled for surgery (sinuses) today, I was poleaxed when another friend called tonight with the news of Rick's passing.

My friend joined with me and another local businessman recently to help the NA-FC Public Library preserve an important piece of local documentary history. Access to local history will be enhanced by his efforts (offered up at no charge) and his generosity will allow for the preservation of an important document while making it available for researchers.

If you didn't know Rick, your experience on this earth is impoverished. I consider myself blessed to have called him my friend. Our love goes out to Karen and all of those who cherished Rick during the brief time he shared with us.

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