LORAIN, Ohio - Ricky Rodriguez has been building things by hand around his family's home on Tacoma Avenue for decades.
But it's his latest Halloween-themed endeavor that has people stopping to give him a high five for creativity: a pirate ship seemingly emerging from the house following a make-believe shipwreck.
"He comes up with these things in his head. And he doesn't put anything on paper," said Ricky's brother, Tony Rodriguez. "He's like ‘Tony, we got to do this. We got to go big, or go home.'"
So they went to his mother's home. Standing more than two stories with its mast flying a pirate flag, a ship's bow juts from the side of Reina Isabel Rodriguez's home as if Jack Sparrow himself had run aground.
Neighbors are amazed the structure that looks like it was an addition without a city permit. So real, in fact, that a building inspector came by just to see what was going on.
"He was amazed. He thought we destroyed the house," said Ricky's wife, Marlene Rodriguez. No fine necessary.
"A lot of the neighborhood kids love it and then they got disappointed because we didn't do anything last year, so he had to do something good this year," said Marlene Rodriguez. "He's got a good imagination. He loves building stuff and working on things, so as long as it doesn't cost too much."
Neighbor Ray Vargas can't believe it. He had to stop Ricky one day to offer encouragement just for the attention to detail. Vinyl siding, shingles and bricks, all extra parts found at the home, went into the visual tricks for the false shipwreck.
"I'm a construction guy and just the way that he matched the gutter, the soffit and the siding, I seriously thought that it was an attached thing, I really, really did. But, that's amazing work. I mean, from a construction guy's standpoint, who does siding and gutters, he really, really knocked it out of the park. When he did the smashed gutters and then the foundation with the rocks and the little pieces of wood. He really knocked it out of the park, he really did," Vargas said.
The Rodriguez family said they have never had any media attention for Ricky's hard work. Thursday was the exception. And well worth it.
To see the display at night is said to be even more incredible. It can be found at the corner of Tacoma Avenue and East 30th Street in Lorain.