The Woodchuck Part 2

Then along came Chuckie a super wood chucking Chuckie and the champion woodchucking chucker of Chattanooga.

One day the Chuckie went a chuckin’ and a chompin’ in the wood when he came across the super chuckin’ champion of the wood and that very same super wood chucking chucker that would chuck a lot of wood if a woodchuck could chuck could chuck wood.

So the Chuckie challenged Chucker to a wood chucking kind of challenge to see who could woodchuck all the wood that they could chuck; so on the count of three they began to chuck the wood.

There was no cheating only chucking, and they chucked all the wood that they could chuck. Then they counted the chucked wood… 33, 34…35, 3600 woods chucked in the wood chucking challenge of the Chattanooga wood.

So they had chucked all of the wood that the super wood chuckers could chuck because it turns out woodchuckers could chuck a lot of wood.

Then they took all the chucked wood, all 3600 of chucked woods, and chucked the wood into many nice cabins in the woods. Then the Chuckie and the Chucker chimed the Chattanooga council and made the choice to give the cabins to the homeless for no charge.

So in the end the Chuckie and the Chucker chucked all the wood that they could chuck and the chucking challenge helped those who had no chuck.


So Dirt Poor – Groceries

In a day and age when groceries can be ordered with clicks in a virtual world, and be waiting for you as soon as you drive up, let me tell you what my dad did to get groceries when I was growing up. My dad being the hero that he is and us being so dirt poor, canoed across Lake Michigan to get to Lake Superior in a canoe with two holes and one oar in the dead of winter with half the lake frozen over, and only shorts and life vest to protect him from the windy conditions, to get groceries for the family from the only store within 100 miles where we could afford food.  Now a days the only “frozen” kids know about  involves two princesses, a talking snowman, a guy with his reindeer, and letting it go – all with a happy ending. Kids, this is what so dirt poor frozen dad looks like:




So Dirt Poor – Mud Hut

Growing up in the 2010’s – meh

Growing up in the 2000’s – blah

Growing up in the 1990’s – nah

Growing up in the 1980’s – Now let me tell you about growing up in the 80’s. Real men and women were born in the 80’s. We ushered in the dawn of the PC. We stormed into relevancy under the watch of Reagan, and we thrived on and self-cultured in the greatest era of Hollywood movies that included Gremlins and ET. But, most of all, in spite of being so dirt poor, we were ahead of our time in doing our part to combat something called global warming. When we needed AC in our mud hut we simply carved out holes in the walls to let the wind through. Then we used that wind to power our tv, stove, and reclining couch. Now tell me if any climate change activist is willing to go to such lengths today. I thought not. Long live the 80’s!


So Dirt Poor – H2O

At dinner one night:

“Dad why is the water so warm? We can’t drink this. The water is too hot!”

“Guys the water is fine. If it doesn’t burn going down it’s not hot. Let me tell you about the water I drank while growing up. We were so dirt poor that we had to grow and harvest our own oxygen and hydrogen molecules, eat them one by one, then jump up and down to mix them in our bellies to create water.”


So Dirt Poor – Sushi

“Dad how come we never get sushi?”

“Kids, let me tell you about the kind of sushi we got when I was a kid. We were so dirt poor the only sushi we got was the fish that came directly out of the kitchen faucet cause our water source was connected directly to the lake.”

“uhh….Dad, how big was your kitchen faucet then?”

“Kids, don’t worry about it.”


So Dirt Poor – The Trophy

One evening my oldest daughter was playing a game on my wife’s phone when she suddenly exclaimed how she had just gotten a trophy for her success. Obviously I was proud of her for the trophy she had just earned, but in this day and age when you can earn a trophy for just starring at yourself in the mirror, I took a moment to share with my kids about the kind of trophy I earned as a kid.

“Kids, let me tell you about the kind of trophy I earned as a kid. You didn’t just get a trophy for waking up in the morning when I was growing up. In fact we were so dirt poor the only trophy I got as a kid was an old, moldy mayonnaise sandwich….after I did the chores.”


So Dirt Poor – The Chainsaw

“Dad in your story about combs, how come you can afford a chainsaw, but can’t afford combs to comb your hair?”

“Children, let me tell you about our chainsaw growing up. We were so dirt poor our chainsaw was homemade. It consisted of a cardboard body, carefully crafted rocks attached to string for a chain, and a hamster and wheel to run the motor. It was as legit a homemade chainsaw as you’ve ever seen.”


So Dirt Poor – Carrots

This next entry in the “So Dirt Poor” series is the one that relays the origin of the name of the series. It was this story about carrots and dirt that launched the name into infinity. One evening at dinner, my daughter decided she didn’t like cooked carrots – nor anything else on the table for that matter. But it was carrots that triggered the thought for this next edition of “So Dirt Poor”

“Kids let me explain to you the situation surrounding the first time I had cooked carrots, or any carrots for that matter while growing up. I was six months old. I asked my mom if we could have cooked carrots for dinner that night. She lovingly explained to me that we couldn’t afford any carrots and that if I wanted carrots I would have to grow them myself. So I promptly found some carrot seeds and went to the backyard to plant my carrots. I was excited. However, when I opened the backdoor, I quickly realized that we were so dirt poor, that we couldn’t even afford dirt for our backyard! Undeterred, I found our chainsaw, cut down our only tree to create compost and planted my seeds. I waited ten years for my carrot to grow, but it finally grew. On my tenth birthday, I enjoyed cooked carrots for dinner”


So Dirt Poor – The Comb

With three young daughters, keeping the hair combed to avoid tangles, rats nests, and utter destruction can be overwhelming and difficult.  On one particular occasion, after having not combed her hair for several days, if not weeks, my wife was working through a particularly troubling head of hair attached to our youngest daughter. The shrieking was constant and unrelenting. It seemed like the perfect time for another edition of “So Dirt Poor.”

“Daughter. Let me tell you about how hair combing and hair cutting went when I was a kid. We lived on edge every time we combed or got our haircut. The fate of our existence was in question with every stroke and every slice. We were so dirt poor we couldn’t afford combs in our home. We had to use our chainsaw to comb AND cut our hair.”

My daughter certainly thought twice about what goes into hair maintenance after hearing that!


So Dirt Poor – The Beginning

As parents we often have those moments where we like to express how life was harder for us than for our children. The “up hill both ways” anecdote is a common example. A year or so ago, we experienced this same discussion, but within our own children. We had recently purchased a new stroller anticipating the birth of our fourth child. The older three sisters were quick to observe that this new stroller was seemingly nicer and better outfitted than the stroller they were privileged to have ridden in as babies. Nothing we said was able to convince them of the coolness of the stroller they had, or to simply be happy for their brother and the stroller he would get to use. So, in desperation, I pulled an “up hill both ways” story. I began describing the stroller I had as a child:

“Kids, let me tell you about the stroller I had as a baby. My wonderful stroller was made of cardboard – only cardboard, had one triangle-shaped wheel, and when it rained there was no canopy to keep me dry. One day we got caught in a rain storm. The stroller filled with water, and the bottom fell out. I let out a gasp and landed in a puddle of water. I was 2 months old. Yes, kids, I had to learn to swim at an early age!”

Now clearly this story was made up, but it caught my kids attention. They called my bluff despite my sarcastic claims to validate the story with their grandmother.

Since that time there have been several additional moments for me to share an “up hill both ways” story from my childhood. These stories have become known as the “So Dirt Poor” anecdotes.

Now as a quick explanation, we were always taken care of as kids. My parents always provided what we needed, and I am grateful for how much they’ve sacrificed for me over the years. These “So Dirt Poor” moments are simply just that – anecdotal, an opportunity to teach my children that despite how rough life may seem at the moment, we can be grateful for what we do have and know that it could be worse.

I hope you enjoy the subsequent entries in the series “So Dirt Poor”