Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 10:47 AM
To: Nancy Mathews
Subject: Thank you!
Where do I begin to tell each and every one of you how very much I appreciate your care and concern over the past month? This has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to face. Sunday, January 4 was Rick's birthday. He would have been 36. I am sure God has his reasons though I do not understand; I am trying to go on through Faith. Rick was my only baby. My grandson Walker turns 12 next month and he is so very much like his dad.
I am attaching an article that I would love to share with you. The article was published in a little country newspaper the day of Rick's funeral.
Again please know just how very much you all mean to me. Thank you again for all your emails and phone calls that have made it possible for me to keep going. Jim, Debra and Walker send their love and thanks as well. We are all very blessed to be part of the Guild family. I love you all...
DOGTROT: Finding the life after death
Washington County News:
Tue. Dec. 16, 2008 - 05:47 PM
By Diane Johnson
I smiled. A memory of answering the phone and hearing, “Whut are you a’doing?” came to mind. The familiar voice with the thick Southern accent always made me smile. Rick Baumgardner teased continuously. He was always such fun. Forever in a good mood, he worked long days doing what most couldn’t…. strenuous, intense labor which used every muscle in his body. He was frequently tired, even exhausted, from his chosen line of work. Yet he was always amiable and easy going. I liked Rick. He was a genuinely nice guy.
I learned that Rick died Monday afternoon. He had been on a respirator since being felled by a stroke last week. Doctors had placed him in a drug induced coma, in the hope that he would recover. Give his brain and body time to rest and recuperate. Everyone was hopeful. He had to get better. He was only 35. Things like this don’t happen. But they do. Life is not always fair.
I had gotten to know and like Rick when he and Bob Mitchell put a new water system on my farm. Rick didn’t think it odd that I loved my farm. He and his wife, Deborah, had one too. They felt the same way. We also shared a love of antiques, and finding old farm implements in the various out-buildings led to some interesting discussions. Rick and I discussed chickens and what was needed to get a flock going in one of my poultry houses. He didn’t even laugh when I told him that I wanted some guineas. The general response I receive is raised eyebrows and disparaging remarks about the ugly, noisy birds. Guard chickens protecting their territory is what they are. Rick understood.
When my dog died, Rick was kind enough to dig a grave for her. He picked a spot with a beautiful view. He took care of putting her to rest and didn’t think me silly for being so sentimental. He was a softie about animals himself. His place had a menagerie of dogs and horses. A blind horse even had a light in its stall. Rick and his wife and son, Walker, enjoyed riding and spent wonderfully fun week-ends on horseback at various parks.
Rick and Deb decided to get chickens of their own. Rick was becoming Colonel Sanders. He rummaged through my barn finding old windows to make a mobile chicken house. At this, I laughed. But he ended up with a freezer full of chickens ready to cook.
Come January, Rick and I had planned for some of his cattle operation to be in my pastures. I was looking forward to working with him. He saw the beauty of my place and saw the potential of what it could be. We planned, designed, and made decisions about the many issues related to working together successfully. It was all done with a handshake. We had mutual trust. He was a man of ethics and integrity. He was a man of his word.
Life is not always fair. We all got cheated by Rick being taken. Some things are very difficult to understand. We try. I suspect his death will just have to be accepted. I don’t think it can be understood. Right now, family and friends need to love and support one another and get through this. Maybe it will begin to make sense later, but I doubt it.
I will miss this gentle man. He enjoyed his life fiercely. He was an active participant in all he did. No easy answers with this. His death leaves a void for far too many.
My life was enriched by having been touched by his.