70 Years Ago Today…Far Far Away in Normandy

guest blog by Nila Ridings

It’s with deep emotions and a heavy heart that I write this blog about D-Day.

On that beach, dressed in the United States Army military fatigues with a rifle and a helmet was the man that ten years later would become the most influential person in my life. He was six feet tall, slender, beautiful blue eyes, thick dark brown hair with a wave on the side, a grin that melted everybody’s heart, and a sense of humor that could turn the toughest situations into one that made me laugh. Mom’s girlfriends said he was so dreamy looking he could have been a movie star. By the grace of God, I was one of three lucky girls that got to call him Dad.

He wasn’t a war hero, he was my hero. From my earliest memories in life, he was always my best friend. He was a very successful businessman, but first and foremost he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, friend, and employer. He never missed my dance recitals, or a chance to make latrines for my Girl Scout camp. He was at every event I was a part of in school even when he was sitting in the freezing cold on concrete bleachers while I was cheering for our team until I lost my voice. He taught me about life, people, money management, construction, honesty, integrity, motivation, ambition, problem-solving, decision-making, project management, and taking good care of customers. He lived by his motto of “Work hard and play hard but never do too much of either one!”

We went to air shows and boat shows, car races and rodeos, the circus and ice skating performances. We went to Disneyland and Fairy Land, and coast to coast in the family station wagon. We ate well and lived comfortably in a beautiful HOA-FREE neighborhood. We had nice cars, boats, clothes, and a vacation home.

I’ve been extremely fortunate. And, my Dad told me to never buy a home with an HOA. I didn’t listen to his advice and I’ve paid the price. I fight every day to educate others about the horrors of HOAs and try to protect them from this misery. My Dad is my driving force, the wind beneath my wings, and the angel on my shoulder. He knew this HOA battle would grow ugly and brutal and I fight it to honor him.

He fought for our country to protect our freedoms from being destroyed by our enemies. When WWII was over, he returned to Kansas and never shared a word about what he saw on June 6, 1944. I just always knew we would take no vacations where we slept in a tent or away from American soil. And rice was never served on our dinner table. I did not know where my Dad was on D-Day until after both of my parents were gone and a family friend told me. I cried for hours.

Many men lost their lives. Wives lost their husbands, children lost their dads, mothers and fathers lost their sons, and brothers and sisters lost their brothers, and families lost loved ones seventy years ago on this fateful day. May we pause to remember each of them. And, pray that the citizens of our country and especially those of us in HOAs will recognize they did not make the ultimate sacrifice so we could turn against and battle each other on American soil today.

Beyond words…I love you and miss you, Dad.

Thank you for your service to our great country.

Elmer L. Ridings, 1922-1988

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

3 thoughts on “70 Years Ago Today…Far Far Away in Normandy

  1. Ward Lucas Post author

    I also agree, Nila, that he must have been one in a million. So few of us get to say that we must have been “touched by an angel” at some point during our lives, but it sounds like your Dad had that kind of influence over many people. You are indeed a lucky person.

  2. Nila Ridings

    Thank you Dave and Ward. For many many reasons I wish he was alive today. For sure I would not be living in this HOA insanity. If anybody knew the details and horrors about HOAs long before they became a reality, it was my Dad.

    If only we could turn back time and have him here to start this movement back in the 1960’s he could have changed the housing industry in America. I could have earned my Girl Scout Community Service badge by saving people from signing themselves away into HOAs.

    If only…


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