I've just learned this morning, via a late arrival Christmas card from his wife Karen, that my long-time good friend Rick Wagner, of Plano Texas, has passed away after a protracted period of ill-health. He was a big man in every way - not far off seven feet tall, but his hands were as skilled as any watchmaker, and he took great delight in making parts for guns, and even guns for parts, in a long life filled with them. He wasn't a member here, but I am, and his life touched mine in many ways, mostly, it has to be said about shooting of all kinds, muzzleloaders included. I first encountered Rick on Lugerforum.com, at the turn of the century, and found in him a kindred spirit who did not suffer fools, but was ever-ready and willing to share his experiences, knowledge and skills to the benefit of others less able than he was - that is to say, the vast majority of us. He loved his garden and the bird-life that constantly filled it - he loved his huge collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia, but not so much that he hesitated to give me one of his precious 'dancing polar-bear in a wind-up bottle' many years back. He loved his flowers, too, and we often swapped pictures of our success, or lack of it, in their regard. He loved his Corvettes, too, one of the few cars that he could actually get comfortable enough to drive without his knees around his ears, he once noted. He loved his guns, almost as much as a native Texan - he was from Oklahoma - and we had long internet talks about all of these things. And now he's gone. I'll miss him and our latterly infrequent talks - a lot. He had told me that he was ailing, and that things were getting a mite tough for him to do, but even so, the news came as a sudden and unwelcome shock. Like the song, 'I always thought that I'd see you again'. But now, I won't. To his beloved wife of many years, Karen, go the deepest sympathies of me and Mrs tac.