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 Candy Man

My dad owned and operated a vending business that was started by his father.  They serviced a huge area that spread from southwest Kansas up to northwest Kansas into Nebraska and Colorado.  I loved riding on the candy truck and when my sister and I were babies, my mom would occasionally set up a play pen in the truck and we would all go on the route with my dad.  We couldn’t go anywhere without my father looking at other vending equipment.  He’d comment on what they had stocked, if the machine was clean, and then take note if they had their business card visible.

We always had the expired candy and chips in our pantry.  I went through a phase where I wouldn’t touch a chocolate bar because I thought they were all chalky white and yucky and potato chips did nothing for me.  My friends though, thought they’d died and gone to Willy Wonka’s Heaven when they saw the stash on chips and candy.

My sister and I would walk to my father’s business after school to wait for my mom, who was the secretary, to get off of work.  We would climb the mountain of boxes holding the candy and make a little nest in the middle of the pile so we could break into a box and help ourselves to the candy without being seen.  I remember going though quite a few M&M’s.

My dad was out on the route a lot and I didn’t see him very often.  He went to bed right after the news and was out the door before I ever stirred in the morning.  It was a bit like my dad was a baker.  He had a very strict routine in the morning and I knew he was headed out the door when I heard the familiar scrape of his keys being picked up off the bathroom counter and the jingle as he fastened them to his belt loop and then his quick footsteps down the hall with every other step producing a rattle of over twenty machine keys bouncing on his hip.

My dad is now in his late 60’s and has been retired for ten years.  He’s a much happier man now that he doesn’t have to get up before the sun and run a business.  Last winter I took this video of him when he was on his way to ride his bike somewhere.  I’ll never forget the time he was unwrapping a candy bar and said to me, “I sold an awful lot of these things to pay for your college.”

Fast Tube by Casper

When my grandfather passed away, the pianist played “Candy Man” as we exited the sanctuary and the florist, with my mother’s direction, had decorated one of the large floral arrangements with little candy bars.  My dad offered both my husband and my sister’s husband the opportunity to move back to western Kansas and take over the business, they both declined the offer with good reasons.  Dad sold the business to another family and now there are no more candy men in our family.

Fast Tube by Casper

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick Hedge Apples.

I took my parents and my sister on a little walk to pick hedge apples when they came to visit last weekend.
Before we went out into the vast wilderness to hunt for a hedge apple tree we employed a couple of super heroes. But, when they heard the word hedge and apple….
and they fell down, dead. Poor, poor batmen. I guess this job calls for a bigger, healthier, braver, older and blonder superhero.
Dun-duh-dahdah! April Muscle-Neck to the rescue!!! I’m able to leap over my tiny parents in a single bound. They really do look up to me! It’s not easy being with all the little people. Uh, okay, moving on.

This is my mother. She is a gigantic goofball.  She has created her own language. It’s a good thing I can understand her or on Saturday when she was insisting that we go see the Appalachias we would have been packing for a long journey across many states. Instead I suggested that we stay right here in Kansas and go visit the Alpaca Farm. Mom, repeat after me Al-pack-uh.Okay, Alpa-lay-shuh.
Alpaca, Alpalacia…it’s all the same. Right?

This little guy is my dad. He’s tiny. Like 5’9″ tiny. He hates it when I say how little he is, because despite his small stature he’s a big man. I mean look at how he man handles that wagon. He’s a brute!

He was very determined to get every hedge apple off the tree. So he shook it. And that’s when I wanted to start singing “Shake it like a Polaroid picture…shake it….shake it….” Note: the Country Doctor’s wife came along to document the whole thing.
Here she is documenting me documenting her documenting me documenting her…..somebody stop the madness, please.

Back to Dad. Check out that shirt! I know he’s tiny, but he’s quite hip. He’s hip Harry the hedge apple picking man.

When you ask “Why April, WHY?!” These people, they are why. I had to live with them. I can’t seem to shake ’em . They keep coming back.

But, that’s okay. Everybody needs to be loved by somebody. Right? But, I do wonder sometimes if I was switched at birth?
The end.
For more information about hedge apples click here, apparently there is a market for these things.

Phone Conversations

Rechelle- Was she always that farty?

Me- Uh, yeah, I think so.
Rechelle- I don’t remember her being that farty.
Me- You’re saying farty.
Rechelle- I know.  I like it.  Farty.
After this conversation Clay told me it’s very difficult to talk to me on the phone when he’s at his desk where other people can hear him.
Clay- Hullo.
(long pause)
Clay- How?
Clay- You couldn’t get out?
Clay- Did he hurt you?
Clay- Why didn’t the kids hear you screaming?
Clay- I do feel sorry for you.
Clay- Are you okay now?
Clay- No, I’m not laughing.
Clay- Bad rooster.
Clay- Bad, bad rooster.
Clay- I don’t think it was the kids’ fault.
Clay- Okay, okay, sorry.
Clay- I have to go.
Clay- No….no… I do feel sorry for you.
Clay- I didn’t lock you in the chicken coop.
Clay- Yes, you should go lie down.
Clay- I have to go, but it’s not because I don’t feel sorry for you.
Clay- Yes, you sound stricken.
Clay- The door is broken?
Clay- Is Seth fixing it?
Clay- Very bad rooster.
Clay- I really do have to go.  But, I love you and I’m glad the rooster didn’t hurt you and I know it wasn’t your fault.  Because it never is……
Me- Hello.
Mom- Is this my sweet darling daughter?
Me- Hi Mom.
Mom- Your father needs to talk to you about a fund raiser for the Vurtus (which is sorta the name of my kids’ school but not quite and I’ve given up trying to get her to pronounce it correctly.) So here he is……HARRY!  April’s on the phone!   She wants to talk to you about your bike ride!
Dad- Hello?
Me- Hi Dad.
Dad- Hi.
Me- So, you want to talk to me about a fund raising bike ride?
Dad- Uh-huh.
Mom- Harry!  Tell her about the presentation!
Dad- What presentation?
Mom- People will want to see a presentation!
Dad- Why?  I don’t want to do a presentation.  That’s what April is going to do.
Me- I’m going to do a presentation?  To who?  When?  What?
Dad- I just want to ride the bike.
Mom- You are going to have to take the bike and make the presentation!  People won’t understand what you’re trying to do for the Vurtus!
Dad- Martha!  You don’t know the first thing about biking people!  They don’t need to see a presentation!
Mom- Harry!  I’m not talking about the biking people!  I’m talking about the Vurtus people!
Dad- That’s what April’s going to do.  She can do that.
Me- Uh.
Mom- You can not make April explain your biking to Vurtus!
Me- Er.
Dad- Oh for crying out loud!
Me- Okay.  I think you both have some sort of weird and obscure valid point that someone in the cosmos is going to understand, but I’m going to get off the phone now.  Good talking to you both.  Love ya…..

Mom- Oh,  well, okay Honey.  Good grief, your father is so stubborn!  Now line up those babies all in a row and give them a big hug and kiss for me.