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Just A Couple of Dicks

Just A Couple of Dicks

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Just a couple of Dicks….That’s how we met.

His name is Richard and so is mine.

He was a homeless veteran with a long, sad story.

I was a former television news anchor.

One day I’m walking down Pearl street in Eugene to grab a cup of coffee at Full City Coffee shop when I walk by this homeless man asking for money on 7th street in Eugene Oregon.

He recognizes me from my days as a news anchor.

He says “Aren’t you Rick Dancer”  I say yes.

He says “I’m Richard.”

My response “we are just a couple of dicks.”

That moment opened a door to a friendship I will not forget.

Richard change my life in small ways.

He showed me hardship, courage, fear and trust.

He also showed me the depth of addiction, something his family says he never escaped.

One day I thought I’d do something nice for Richard.

I bought up all the left-overs at Full City to give to him.

He thanked me but told me , honestly, what he really wanted was money for alcohol.

God how I loved his honesty.

I told him I couldn’t do that.

He said “Come on.”

I said Richard I can’t give you money for alcohol that’s not right.

He laughed, thanked me and never asked again.

I stopped regularly at the corner to talk with Richard.

Sometimes when I pried too much his eyes would glass over with tears and then he’d laugh it off.

I could see the pain in his face.

One time he cut our talk short telling me I was too recognizable and bad for business.

I asked why.

He said people recognize you and won’t give me money if you are standing here.

We laughed, I moved on.

There would be times I’d see Richard regularly and that was nice.

But when he was on the street he was also drinking.

So it was actually better when I didn’t see him because I knew, from our conversations, those where the times he was in a program getting help.

I remember a time when I lost track of Richard for a long time.

I got worried.

He wasn’t showing up so I put out a cry on social media and a picture.

The FaceBook live got plenty of attention.

A friend later told me he was in a coffee shop and everyone was talking about this missing man Rick Dancer was looking for.

I got a message from a woman, Richards daughter.

Long story short that event reconnected Richard with his daughters who he hadn’t seen in years.

I got a message from two of his daughters yesterday telling me Richard died.

They thanked me for reconnecting them but said he never got the help he needed to get off the streets.

Richard was a good soul with a troubled past.

A past that wouldn’t let go.

I was doing a live broadcast with him one time on Facebook and asked him what happened.

Live on camera he told how he had killed someone.

He got all teary.

I asked more.

He said he was driving a car with his best friend and Richard was drunk.

He crashed and his friend died.

It haunted him his whole life.

One of his daughters is texting with me right now.

She said her dad died at his fathers house where he would end up from time to time.

But he always went back to the streets.

That’s what he knew.

That’s where his community lived.

I guess in some strange way that’s where Richard belonged.

Richard, I hope you find peace in the afterlife.

I pray you are with God and understand He loved you no matter what.

You have a good soul, you just couldn’t see it.

Yep, just a couple of dicks trying to make it through life.

I didn’t sleep well last night.

Tossed and turned thinking about you.

Rest in peace my friend.

You deserve it.

Rest knowing you were okay.

And a handful of people knew that about you.

Richard Penny just turned 60.

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