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Eric K. Richards Posts

Magic Moments

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Ever since my little Hayley was born, we have had many “magic moments” together. We refer to them as magic because they are special moments we have shared together over the years that have significant meaning to us. They have been daughter-father bonding moments for me. Often times we talk about these times and reflect back on them. Every once in a while, we’ll both remember one of them and refer to it as “one of our magic moments.” We are always seeking to add to our collection.

It all started when we were out playing at Daybreak Lake on the east end of the Salt Lake Valley. We had been sitting on a couple of permanent chairs that sit along the east shore. We had been there for a while watching the many birds floating on the lake. I was going to get up to go but she said to wait a little longer. Suddenly, hundreds of birds took flight and shot off from the lake. The sky was swirling with birds flying in every direction. It was cool outside with a light breeze and the view was spectacular. We’ve often said, if Hayley hadn’t asked to sit for just a little while longer, we would have missed that magic moment. From then on we pinpointed magic moments as we had them and reflected back to earlier times that we could categorize as a “magic moment.”

OUR LIST OF MAGIC MOMENTS:

1) One early morning, I was sleeping in my bed and Hayley came in and without saying a word, jumped up and snuggled with me. I believe she was 4 or 5. There was a little light cast on the wall behind us and without saying anything we both lifted our hands in the air and started creating a shadow puppet story on the wall. We did this for quite some time until we both fell fast asleep in the wee hours of the morning. No words. Just beautiful communication. The early morning lighting was perfect.

2) A couple of mornings we decided to get up early to experience the sun coming up. The first time I had to get my tires rotated on my car so we went early to the tire shop and parked the car facing the East mountains. We slowly watched the long shadows on the building around us move quickly as the sun crested over the top of the mountain. The second time, we got up early, went in the backyard of my parent’s home in Draper, Utah and sat on a bench in the cool summer morning air. We let the sun slowly warm us as we just watched and listened to the stillness of the morning as the sun moved across the valley until it hit us. We waited until its whole sphere was above the mountain line and could actually feel its warming impact on us.

3) One time we came down the stairs at home just as beautiful fireworks were being shot directly ahead of us at the nearby park. We planted ourselves on the bottom step and leaned on each other as the sky filled with amazing colors. We had no idea fireworks were in order so we stopped and enjoyed them.

4) One summer evening, we were at the park as we had been so many times before and I was pushing her on the swing as she was giggling her guts out. It was getting late but she wanted to “stay longer,” so we did. It was one of the amazing nights where the sun is going down in the West and the moon is rising in the East. She was facing the moon as I pushed her and I was facing the sun as she swung back towards me. We both noticed it — it was another magic moment. She slowly rocked back and forth to a halt and we stood there watching the two orbs take turns passing the night sky from one to the other.

We’ve had more. Maybe I’ll come back and capture more here as we have them and as we remember them. The beauty is, they are gifts of life we both share. I’ve had them with each of my kids, with family, and with amazing friends. It is something we get to create and experience with people. We are lucky to find magic moments when we look for them. They are different than just moments, they happen when we are in the right place at the right time. Since the “birds took flight moment,” Hayley has inspired me to be in those right places at the right times so we can experience many more magic moments through life’s journeys.

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The Jelly Belly Parable

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All of us, like Jelly Belly beans, are unique and different. Together we are a kaleidoscopic force. When I arrived in the mix, I didn’t get to choose my flavor. I was created to be Wild Blackberry. Sure, Very Cherry was and has always been the majority and favorite, but without the contrast of the others, wonderful combinations like Cherry Vanilla, Cherry Cola, Cherry Cheesecake and Cherry Chocolate wouldn’t exist. I get that there’s not as many of me as there are the red ones, but my “wild” flavor really adds to the ensemble. The beauty is, I am a favorite for some — not all — but some. I even go well with various mixes and medleys of Jelly Belly’s. I’ve always been surrounded by a variety of wonderful beans. Being naive, I thought we all knew that we are all just one of a kind but it’s okay to be together. When the ones closest to me became aware that I was Wild Blackberry, some of them told me I wasn’t a good flavor and that I was defective. Some told me I didn’t belong in the mix. Some said I was no longer allowed to be next to them. Some even said I needed to “fake it” and pretend I am one of the “more acceptable” flavors. Sadly, I tried to find out if I was really that different from the rest. I discovered that inside, we are all the same, but our tastes and colors might just be distinct. I’m now happy about the way my confectioner created me. I don’t regret that I’m one of the deep purple ones. At times, I tried to disguise myself as a cherry one, but every time I did, the red washed off — I was still blackberry through and through. The only reason I think I put up the front was because the sweets around me suggested it wasn’t okay to be Wild Blackberry. Today, I embrace myself and those around me that don’t mind sharing this colorful life with me. So whether you’re Berry Blue, Chili Mango, Island Punch, Lemon Drop, Sizzling Cinnamon, Toasted Marshmallow, or Tutti-Fruitti, know that I’m okay to share this mix we call “life” with you.

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Reminder to not make assumptions


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So, I found this piece of paper I’ve been holding onto in my car the other day. I kept it because it was a great reminder to me that things aren’t always what they seem to be. I had come home from work one night and there was a car in my parking space at my apartment. How dare someone park in my space! I thought I would deal with it in the morning so I just went in for the evening. When I was leaving for work the next morning, I couldn’t believe someone would have the audacity to still be parked in my space. I tore a piece of paper out of my day planner and wrote a scathing note telling this person, whoever they were, to park somewhere else and to not park in my space ever again.

I went to work seething and thinking that some people really have nerve. Well, the next morning when I was leaving for work again and actually had my space back, there was a note on my windshield as I got in. In nice penciled handwriting it said:

” I am so sorry. I thought you were parking in my spot but they accidentally told me 52 instead of 62! Once again I totally apologize, it will not happen again! (smiley face). Have a great day!”

So, there you have it. I’ve tried to apply The Four Agreements over the past few years, but that day I failed. I kept the note in my car until today to remind me to think outside myself more. Consider other reasons why people might behave the way they do. Quit assuming that it might be one thing when it is something else. I will now throw the paper away since I have captured it here. (smiley face)

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Riesa Germany Sister Cities Project

8 members from the Sandy Arts Guild were able to share a musical theater review with the people of Reisa Germany. For me, it was a magical experience. We stayed with a host family and Hendrik and Beatrice Kleditz were the most amazing people. We sang together while Hendrik played the guitar many nights. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life sharing hysterical exchanges with Lisa Grow, Britanni Cavaness, Karla Marsden, Carissa Klitgard, and Gerry Graves. The air quality was so nice there. Some highlights were the evening walk together past the chicken egg farm, shopping in downtown Riesa, performing on the stages for the BurgerFest, the evening dinner at the boathouse, and our day trip to Dressden where we toured the Church of our Lady and the Meissen Factory. The tour of the noodle factory reminded me of an episode of Lavern and Shirley with everyone wearing their coverings. We ate incredible food with the best bread I have ever had along with various meats and cheeses and Wurst in all shapes and sizes. Lisa and I spent many hours goofing around as if we were Carissa’s parents and saying with crazy accents “ve vork three job each fur her to play 12 instruments” along with how Lisa would bury me with a rose from her hair and a hobo dinner “ven I leave” before they close the coffin. We were jokesters to say the least. It’s funny to feel homesick from a place I only visited for a short time but the people were amazing and I will always have the fondest memories of this experience.

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Ben Graul

Ben Graul will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with both he and his sister throughout their youth and teen years. This year, Ben got accepted as 1 of 16 to BYU’s Music Dance Theater program. I have always been impressed with how hard Ben works. I’ve been able to attend many of his performances and wish I had had time for more because every body of work he has taken, he had done so with passion and soulful fire and has portrayed some amazing characters. Let’s just say, Ben Graul has many faces. My favorite moment was seeing him perform a monologue from Angels in America. It was moving and I could see how he received straight superiors and won best dramatic monologue. We have had some amazing lightbulb moments in our sessions over the years and I know Ben will be successful at whatever he pursues. I’m a better human being for knowing someone like Ben.

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Emma Hamilton

I met Emma in 2009 when we both were in the same jazz class with Michele Weir together. I was impressed by her jazz piano skills from the get go. I remember one day walking into the main building at camp and running into her and her friend Liam Bradbery. She stopped me and told me I had a cool vibe. I didn’t understand what she meant at the time but it made me feel special and I was just grateful to be able to meet amazing people like Emma. Over the years I’ve followed her talent and am impressed with the music she has written. I believe “she” is the one with the cool vibe and offers such beautiful music for the world. Even though I am miles away from amazing artists like Emma, I always feel a connection with them through their music and the fact that I was privileged enough to experience them in person.

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Carrie Haber

I met Carrie Haber in L.A. at a summer vocal camp and saw her perform her song Me Oh My before this video was actually recorded. She did it solo on the piano and had the audience from the minute she walked on stage. I remember she wore a little hat similar to what you see in the video and walked to the center stage and said “BOO!” in the mic then walked over to the piano. I remember thinking when she started banging the piano that it was something like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for one. I loved getting to know her and have been a fan of her uniqueness ever since. It’s nice to make friends from other countries and realize what a small world we live in now that we are in a digital age. It makes it nice to stay connected to amazing artists like Carrie.

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Sandy’s Engagement Photos

I never claim to be a photographer but I enjoy doing photo shoots every now and again for friends and family. I certainly don’t have the technical expertise but I like toying around with composition and image ideas. Sandy was kind enough to trust me to do her engagement photos. We got an early start and went out to the Great Salt Lake and got some great shots with the mooning going down just as the sun was coming up. Let’s just say we were lucky that day. The graffiti was a fun element and messing around with random elements like the blue frame, heart cut outs, and the train made the morning eventful. We ended by going up Millcreek Canyon and found some beautiful spots with great natural lighting.

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Edna in Hairspray

Edna was one of the most challenging roles I have ever played. I can’t say I would be rushing to wear high heels in a show ever again but the experience was worth the journey. I have a new appreciation for the effort woman put into themselves. I was certainly grateful for the backstage crew that helped me get into the body suit every night and spend a good chunk of time doing a makeover on me. It took 5 months for my middle toe to heal from being black and blue from wearing the size 15 heels they ordered from a drag queen shop in New York. The one thing I realized about the role is that you must play it like a woman, not a man in drag. I watched numerous clips of the many actors that played the role to help define who Edna is. I will never forget the night while leaving Tracy in the jail cell scene, saying the line “Touch one hair on my little girls ‘back” and I’ll give you a whole new meaning for split ends.” …ugh! It was supposed to be “head.” Christian Harmon who played the guard was busting up as I was pointing at his face in the scene. He had me so flabbergasted in that show from the various lines I would unknowingly put my own spin on. One of my fondest memories will always be the magic I felt in “Your Timeless to Me.” Zach Archuleta was always such a good acting colleague and so easy to play off of.

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Tinman in The Wizard of Oz

I will always look back fondly when thinking of playing the Tinman with some of my dearest friends Jared Saunders, Scott Morgan, and Dana Swofford. I will never forget when I played the final scene for the very last time on stage when the wizard bestows a heart upon me and tells me not to cry or I would rust — I actually had real tears streaming down my metallic makeup because I knew that night was our last together. Being a part of this timeless story will always be a piece of me. On many occasions since then, I’ve been recognized or referred to by friends as the “Real Tinman.” Getting in and out of that costume every night was certainly a feat but very rewarding and I remember thanking choreographer Susan DeMille for providing me a great weight loss program that summer.

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