After resigning from Virginia Commerce Bank, effective in 1994, it was my very good fortune to join with one of my former customers to form a partnership to buy and renovate single family homes in Falls Church, Virginia. My partner was Steven Macik, as outstanding building and real estate broker who needed a partner to help him finance the acquisition of properties to be renovated. Together we bought the houses and Steve would do the demolition, the renovation, and through his company, the listing and sale of the properties. Throughout this process, I learned something, not only of real estate construction, but also real estate listing and sales. In about three years, I studied for the Virginia real estate brokers’ license, took the examination, and organized my own company, Bankers Reality.
After several years of experience managing my own real estate company and purchasing and renovating my own houses here in Winter Hill in Falls Church, I began to travel widely utilizing the internet to maintain my real estate activities with various broker/partners. In this activity I would take a listing to one of them and say I will be out of the country for as long s three months and would like you to follow upon this lead and we split 50-50? Here is the deal, “You work, and I play.” Then I would follow up with the statement that when I return, I will take over the project 24-7 and still we split. Everyone to whom this offer was made accepted it – under the time-worn real estate theory that half a piece of pie is better than no pie at all.
Such an arrangement allowed me to visit fourteen countries in both Europe and the Far East, and with the global reach of the internet, I could continue the real estate activities, as well as banking and stock market updates.
In Europe, I visited Russia, Italy, Germany, Belgium Switzerland France, and England. On one notable trip, my daughter Laura joined me for a week in Paris.
In the Far East, I visited Mongolia, China, Japan Viet Nam, Cambodia, Singapore, and especially Thailand. In Thailand, I found my second home in that the country was known as
the Land of Smiles, very low cost, beautiful southern beaches and above all – no winters.
In Thailand, I began to write my various stories, which were scattered throughout my computer. There was no thought of ever having a book until Laura mentioned that she could assemble them all in a book. She said that such an understanding was part of her job. So we undertook an anthology of stories dedicated to our family and we started with the story about my ice boat experience on Big Cedar Lake in Wisconsin a few days after my grandfather passed away. One of my editors who resided here in Falls Church named the book Big Cedar Farewell as a farewell to my grandfather Cyrus Ricker.
In 2014, my other daughter carol spotted me conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in our living room, and at Christmastime, gave me a baton. Arriving in Thailand, In January of 2015, I decided to write a story in which a baton changes color with the music. In the four-month period between January 10 and March 31, 2015, I wrote the complete story The Baton. Below is a picture taken at the beach resort in Pattaya, Thailand, at the absolute moment I decided to write The Baton.