College move-in day

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By Ken Begley

I have a degree in liberal arts. Do you want fries with that?  

Author unknown

My oldest girl has headed off to the University of Louisville.  Renee will be rooming with her buddy, Kaly Edelen, at the Betty Johnson Dorm.

Let me tell you something. When I went to college 35 years ago, I took with me one duffle bag half filled with clothes.  We were more independent and easily pleased back them.  All I took with me was one pair of jeans, one tee shirt, one pair of underwear, one sock, and one shoe.  Yep, I had to hop around on one leg all over campus until Christmas time when I got the other sock and shoe.  They didn’t match, but you sure didn’t hear me crying about it.  We were tough back then.

Well, it’s a different group now. Why, just last week I was saying to Renee . . .

“Alrighty now Renee.  Where’s your duffle bag.  It’s time your momma and me dropped you off at U of L.  Just hop out to the car and get in.”

“Duffle bag?”

“I mean your junk for school.”

“Oh, it’s in my room.  I’ll help you.”

“Help?!?!  When I’m too old to load a few boxes in the back of a van, then you can drop me off at the old folks home.”

I walked into the room she shares with another one of my kids and saw this massive mountain of clothes and “personal need items” stacked in huge gray storage tubs.  It was teetering and making a strange rumbling noise.  

“What  in the ‘bad place’ is all this?”



“Oh, things I need.”

“What’s that noise?”

“Well, I packed those storage bins pretty tight, so it’s probably just the pressure against its sides.”

“Most of my friends take a tenth of this load going all the way to Iraq or Afghanistan for a year.  I don’t suppose you could leave some of it.”

“No!  I’m not going to Iraq or Afghanistan.  I’m going to college, and I’ll need everything in there.  Do you still think you don’t need any help?”

“Heck, no.  It won’t take me no time to have all this stuff loaded and ready to go.  Just watch.”

“Will, get out here and load up Renee’s junk for college!”

I thank the Good Lord that Mark Mann and his son Michael have been working Will in the tobacco fields the last couple of weeks.  It built up his muscles and endurance to the point that loading up Renee only caused him to have heat stroke once.”

U of L said there would be people at the college to help incoming freshmen to unload.  Well, I tell you what.  Those wimpy seniors hauled fanny so fast when we rolled around the corner that all I saw were elbows and rear ends as they ran away.  

Disgusted, I took charge.

“Renee, go check in.  Cindy, you wait here on the sidewalk.  I’ll offload everything in a jiffy.”

“How’re you going to do this in a no parking zone before the police get here?”  Cindy asked.

“Like this,” I replied.

I threw open the back hatch door on the van, jumped behind the steering wheel, floored the gas and watched all Renee’s junk shoot out the back.  Cindy stood there with this mountain of crap around her.

“I’ll be back after I park the van”, I yelled back as I drove away.

I parked the van at a McDonald’s down the street and had an ice-cold coke. Unloading all that stuff sure makes a fella thirsty.  A short hour later I was back.

Cindy looked like a homeless person as she sat on the corner in the 95 degree heat with all Renee’s stuff stacked up behind her.

She looked up at me with the sweat pouring off her and with love said, “Where the bleep have you been?   I had three deranged hobos circling around me like Indians around a wagon train for the past hour.”

“What did you do?”

“Balled my hand up in a fist and slapped them up side the head until they ran off.”

“One looks pretty busted up over in the grass.”

“I didn’t say they all ran far.”

I then lugged up the first of the 10 storage tubs to Renee’s dorm.   Fortunately, Kaly’s parents, Pat and Tessie Edelen already had their girl moved in.

Pat, a kindly man, said, “Dang, Ken, are you OK?  You don’t look so good.”

“Don’t worry about me, Pat.  I may have a heart condition but I think I’ll be able to lug the rest of Renee’s stuff up those stairs and in this 95 degree weather with no problem.”

“Ken, you poor thing, just sit right down here in the air conditioning while I get the rest.  Can’t be too much down there anyway after that big load you’ve already brought up.”

I’ll tell you what.  That Pat is a powerhouse.  That is until his chest seized up on him.  Later, after the ambulance took Pat to the hospital, we all admired his work of getting all Renee’s stuff up those eight flights of stairs.  

It was then that Tessie noticed the strange rumbling coming from the storage tubs.  

“What in the heck is that,” said Tessie as she reached over to pull off the lid.

“Don’t touch it,” I yelled.,   But it was too late.  The top exploded open due to the pressure and Tessie was washed out the building from the eruption of clothes that followed.  It was the last we saw of her.

Cindy and I started to leave but it was at that point when I looked at these two defenseless 18-year-old girls alone in the big bad city together for the first time.  I had almost forgotten my last present to them.

“Girls, I need to install your Washington County Burglar Alarm before I go.

“Washington County Burglar Alarm?” said Kaly.  “What’s that?”

“Dang, Kaly, didn’t your daddy teach you anything before they carted him off in the ambulance.  Why a Washington County Burglar Alarm is the sound the of a shell being jacked into the chamber of a 12-gauge shotgun.”

“You mean like the burglar tries to breakdown the door and a recording of a shotgun being loaded goes off to scare him away.”


Kids, they’re so naive.