Even political rivals pull together for ailing mayor

February 13, 2013

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The story of the mayor and his wife is a love story that involves the entire community.

And it’s a story worth telling, considering that Thursday is Valentine’s Day.

Granbury Mayor Rickie Pratt is not the man he used to be. A severe stroke will do that to you. But the love between him and his wife Janet is even stronger.

As he prepared to finally come home yesterday after being in a Fort Worth hospital and a rehab center for a month and a half, Rickie worried that he would be a burden to Janet. The couple hasn’t been married all that long. They tied the knot shortly before he ran for office several years ago.

“You can’t put too much of a burden on somebody when you love somebody as much as I love you.” That’s what Janet told Rickie.

Rickie initially was expected to come home Monday, but Janet convinced doctors to let him stay at the rehab center one more day. She and volunteers needed more time to make the house wheelchair-accessible.

Over the weekend, friends, family and volunteers moved furniture and made changes to the bathroom.

Evan Arlington, a former son-in-law with whom Rickie and Janet once had a bitter relationship, brought a crew and constructed a wheelchair ramp and deck. When Janet handed him a check for $925 to cover the cost of materials, Evan ripped it into pieces.

“It’s just amazing when somebody finds out the truth,” Janet said of the assumptions and misjudgments that she and Evan had once made of each other.

an olive branch

Even political foes of the mayor’s have, if not kissed and made up, at least made up.

Council member Tony Allen was among those working at the Pratt home over the weekend. He and Mayor Pro Tem Nin Hulett are planning an auction next month to benefit the Pratt family. In the past, the council member and mayor shared many a heated exchange.

The heat has been replaced by warmth.

“Tony’s been great,” Janet said. “He was even there for me just to vent to when I thought at times I was just going to lose it. I think it’s wonderful that they all came together. Politics are politics, but being there for people is a totally different thing.”

Said Allen: “Rickie and I probably disagreed in politics as much as anybody, but this isn’t about politics. This is about a man who has a heart and a soul and a family. Our duty as a Christian is to do something not just for Rickie, but for anybody.”

Allen said he thinks that the days of city officials trying to get even with each other over disagreements and split votes are gone.

“I think all that stuff has come to a head,” he said.

pratt’s progress

Janet said doctors expect her husband to walk again. He’s doing very well on his speech, she said. In fact, he called her on Monday while she was getting ready for his return home to say that he was counting the hours until she came for him.

Instead of having home health care come in, Janet said that she will be taking Rickie to a rehab center in Fort Worth every day. He will spend hours immersed in therapy while she is at her accounting job.

They are planning an estate sale. Janet said that a Realtor has been contacted regarding Rickie’s stereo and video shop not far from downtown. Rickie will retire and be a “Poppy” to the grandkids, while she works to support them, Janet said.

A community yard sale is planned for Saturday, Feb. 23 at Celebration Hall on the square. The band Brazos River Outlaw Society will provide live entertainment.

Gently used donated items will be accepted, starting next Wednesday. Tom and Sara Baker are contacts for anyone who has questions or wants to discuss items they would like to donate. Tom’s cell number is 817-776-0708; Sara’s is 817-279-7412.

Though it has been a rough road, Janet has faith in her husband’s strong will and determination.

“He’s getting better every day,” she said. “His smile’s coming back.”

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 258

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