THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
Back at the dawn of civilization, when I first began writing in this space, an irritated reader accused me of being “barely tethered to reality.” This made me pretty irritated myself, but she was right. Larry B and the practical business of everyday life have never been a good match.
Yours truly handle money wisely? Ha! Over the course of my television career, I made millions of dollars and spent or gave away every single one.
Not deliberately—that would’ve taken some skill. Instead—well, the word “obliviously” comes to mind. As in, “Geeze, I dunno what the hell happened. It’s just …gone.”
Then there’s cooking. Ha! Not yours truly. The only thing I know how to make is a tuna sandwich, and although I’ve pretty much got the opening the can thing down I’m still more likely to spoon in way too much or too little mayo than to get it just right.
And when it comes to household repairs, well, I think it’s fair to say that I’m a handyman’s delight. The rocking chair’s wobbling? Might as well take it to the dump now because that’s where it’ll end up even after I apply myself to its repair.
And not trying to fix it will save not only time and effort but also sanity. My wife’s as well as mine. Because if I go nuts with frustration I’ll take Gwen the Beautiful around that same bend with me. That’s what happens when you’re such a close team.
How did I get this way? As a true child of the ‘60s, a rebel with way too much knowledge of psychology, philosophy, and The Who, I can tell you straight out that it’s not my fault. It’s because of my parents, of course.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration. I know enough about life and myself and my family to take full responsibility for my ignorance. For the most part, I learned what interested me and blew off the rest. Most of us do that.
But here’s the self-serving “but:”
Most of the men I know, the money-investing, self-sufficient, building their own furniture type Very Good Ole Boys, learned this particular approach to life from their fathers or mothers or brothers or sisters or uncles or aunts or grandparents. They lived in families that knew how important it was to work together and teach each other how to survive.
My family was different.
No, this isn’t going to be a rant about being abused or endangered or ignored. I didn’t suffer from any of those things. Instead, I suffered by being pampered.
Treated like a Prince.
The Chosen Child, Perfect In Every Way.
“Larry doesn’t have to make his own snacks. That’s what I’m here for,” my proud and giving Mom would say. Ditto managing my own money. “Why would you want a part-time job, or even an allowance?” she’d ask. “Just tell me what you need.”
When it came to fixing things, my father would step up to the plate, but not the way other dads did. Silently (he was mostly silent; that’s just how he rolled) he’d toss away whatever was broken and the next day a new version would appear.
The new thing, whatever it was, wouldn’t work very well because we didn’t have enough money for him to buy the top grade, but it would be close enough so that sometimes I could hear him mutter, “It’ll do….”
Now I live in the country, where doing things for yourself is the First Law, and becoming practical has taken on new importance. Replacements aren’t always available, and more often than not General Knowledge and Common Sense are the only help close at hand.
So slowly but surely I’ve been learning some skills:
How to remove a camper shell from my truck even after the nuts have frozen into place.
How to operate a chainsaw so it cuts through a tree’s limb and not mine.
How to get a bead on, shoot, and field dress a deer.
My teacher for all this and much more has been Doug the Dog Breeder. Ex-lawman with a keen sense of what’s right, who luckily for me has decided that it’s right that I be able to survive in this world and not only in the one in my head.
My biggest thanks for everything, DTDB. With your help I’m sure I’ll succeed and grow—at last—from Pampered Prince to Reasonably Good Ole Boy.