My dad was the greatest. Everyone loved my dad, and holy heck did my dad love all of us. We were his favorite thing, and you’d be hard pressed to determine which of us was his favorite — he made us all feel like we were shiny gems.
Dad loved the number 13, so of course it was today that he elected to take his last breath. December 13, 2021.
Hugh Rice was a surfer, a dirt track motorcycle racer, a lineman, the cable guy, a blackjack dealer, relentlessly hilarious, adventurous in spirit, an avid reader, a poet, and a storyteller.
He inherited his love for racing in all forms from his grandparents and his dad, and he passed it on to a couple of his kids.
Dad was the kindest man on the planet — he could be a badass, though. He once punched his boss in the face for being super mega condescending. This is totally not the man I knew on the daily, but I love this story and that he was capable of it.
He was gigantic in stature and joy. He was an awesome hugger. He loved music so much, and one of my favorite things was when we would be driving around and then get home in the middle of a really good song, and he would not turn the car off until the song was done. Once we sat there in the driveway and listened to the majority of Stairway to Heaven. After he turned off the car, he told me you could never, ever turn off Stairway to Heaven in the middle.
When we were little, my dad used to do our hair for school in pigtails (just me and Sadie — Rob didn’t have to wear pigtails and Lacy was a baby). I remember dad snapping his gigantic dad-hands with those elastic ties and saying ouch under his breath, but he did it, day after day. Two little girls, each with two slightly lopsided but somehow darling pigtails. He cooked us lumpy malt-o-meal in the microwave. He made sure we got to watch Land of the Lost while we were eating it. He was an excellent dad.
In July of 2019, I asked him a series of questions via email, which he graciously answered over a couple of days. One of the questions was what he was most proud of in life, and this is what he said:
“All of it. If I could do it all over, I would… the highs and the lows make this ride worth it. Lessons learned by experience are lessons retained in your heart.”
And then I asked him what message he would like to share with his family, and he said this:
“That I love them all very much, and I’m damned proud of ’em.”
We love you too, dad. “You done good.”