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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


The Color for Today is Red – Part I

Hi, April here.  You all have no idea the monster that was created when you left comments to Clay’s posts when I was at camp and unable to blog on a regular basis.  Now he thinks he needs to write all of the stories I’ve heard nine billion times for the whole world to hear.  The man really is a good story teller.  One of his fellow architect buddies once said to him, “Clay, you have a funny $##! story for EVERYTHING!” and it’s true.  I felt I should share this side of my life with you so that you too can enjoy the Clay stories, but honestly, it’s the best when you hear them in person, because there are lots of sound effects, facial expressions and awkward body gestures that accompany the tale.  Click here to read his other posts and enjoy this latest installment.


Gary, Todd, and I planned a driving trip to a brand new water park about an hour and a half north of our town and about 20 minutes west of Hannibal, Missouri.

Who is Todd you ask?  He was, and still is, the third member of the Gary, Clay, and Todd trio.  Todd started hanging out with Gary and me just before the seventh grade, mostly because he played D&D and I was really into it.  Yes, I said D&D.  My name is Clay, I’m a huge dork and my 13th level Ranger can kick your butt.  Just so you have a picture, Todd is 6’-1” and around 250 pounds and considers April Fool’s Day his favorite holiday.  I’m not kidding, he gave a speech on it in English class.  He also gave a speech on the proper tying of knots and included the whole class.  They loved it.  I once gave a speech on shoving a stick in my eye while the entire class looked shocked and horrified.  Todd’s speeches were much better.

It was Todd’s idea to drive up to this water park, spend the day frolicking around in a wave pool and water slides and then come home and enjoy the memories.  It was Gary’s idea to have his Dad call AAA and get a TripTick.  I didn’t have any ideas so I was told to ask my Dad if we could borrow the car.

Asking for the car was going to be a big, big challenge.  I had used the car, a red AMC Concord, several days before to drive the three of us to the IGA to grab some stuff.  This was just after Dad had finished cleaning my clock with a mighty tongue lashing.  I’m sure it had something to do with his desk lamp and how I was to be very careful so that it didn’t break.  Anyway, I was upset when I left the house.  I climbed into the Concord and drove across the street to Gary’s place.

Gary’s driveway was a single lane wide with two enormous bushes on either side of the street.  So if you wanted to get out of the car you had to drive completely into the driveway so that you were past the bushes, or you had to stop short of the bushes with the rear end of the car sticking out into the street.  On this day, I pulled all the way in.

Todd climbed into the back seat, Gary got into the passenger side and I started pulling out of the driveway.  But I was still preoccupied with Dad’s “conversation” and started to pull out before Gary shut the door.  He started yelling “Clay…Clay…CLAY CLAY CLAY!!”  while I was zoned out and thinking about all of the clever things I should have said.  The first noise I heard was of wrenching metal, a prolonged screech and crumple.  I got out of the car and went around to the passenger side.  The door, Gary’s door, was laying flat against the front fender because I had backed it over the bushes, Gary’s bushes.  It was still on its hinges, but now it was pushed all the way to the front.  We looked it over for a second and with a monumental heave that you only read about in posts, the three of us pushed it back into place.  It never, ever opened again.

One more thing you should know, the heater on the Concord, through no fault of my own, was stuck on.  Always.  No matter the outside temperature, it was always a boiling 98 degrees inside.  You could usually alleviate the blast furnace effect by rolling down the window on the passenger side…but, um, that was now out of the question.  So really, I didn’t ask Dad if I could borrow the car, I asked him if I could take the rolling kiln for a spin.  Dad said yes.

We prepared ourselves for the trip and set out on probably the hottest day that summer…

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