"As to my reason for weaving the story into rhyming doggerel, I hold myself excused in that I did it for my own amusement, influenced also by a belief that it might possibly prove more readable and attractive in that shape to the persons I chiefly wished to peruse it, viz., my friends of the Caddie fraternity."Violet Flint
The pages before you will affect your life or at least offer some clarity when looking back on how you have lived. What you will read may even broaden your perspective on navigating your future. Hopefully, you will choose to live life to its fullest and reflect deeply on the people and the events that not only shape your life but also occupy a permanent part of your soul.
Ray D'Arche has lived a life full of various events that have changed the course of his being. He has overcome great obstacles and has won even greater victories. Among his many accomplishments as a hard-working man, he is best known by his family and friends as a devoted and loving father who always puts his loved ones before himself. Now, at age eighty-four, Ray will always be remembered as a well-known and skilled craftsman. Following in his father's footsteps, he continues to be one of the oldest men in the State of Connecticut to maintain a master's license in all three trades of plumbing, heating, and electrical. His lifelong customers loved him for his honesty, integrity, talented and skilled mind, and constant dedication and commitment to excellence in everything he was involved with.
Some of Ray's closest customers became some of his most beloved friends. It was these customers who joined his family in knowing what most did not that, behind his weathered hands and stained work clothes, he was an artist and writer of poetry. On a typical hot summer afternoon, Ray would spend time in between scheduled appointments either pulled over in his van or in his favorite restaurant parking lot, deep in thought while pondering his next words. He would often operate on impulse, capturing and crafting his words on the fly wherever and whenever he could. Most of the time, his pen would fill all available space on anything he could find, napkins, bags, receipts, bills, an occasional notepad, and even on the inside of his palm. At times, his young apprentice and helper on the side would stare as Ray puffed a cigarette, deep in thought while ignoring his AM radio, and even watched tears stream down his face while he wrote. He would turn to that young man and explain the importance of catching words before they escaped the mind, no matter what.
Today, remembering that lesson is more important than ever. I ought to know. I was that young man watching him write. Today, I am his very proud son. Before you is a collection of Ray's most heartfelt work, a reflection of his life as a craftsman, father, husband, and friend to many. His work continues to touch the lives of countless individuals who are still astonished, to this day, by the impact of his words.