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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><STRONG><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“Starting To Solo†(Part 1)</SPAN></STRONG><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> </SPAN></P> <DIV class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: center" align=center><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> <HR align=center width="100%" color=#3b491f noShade SIZE=1> </SPAN></DIV> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->The next winter was long and cold and the Kid went to Mr. Feeney’s garage many times to see if it was open. It seemed like every time the Kid was at the garage it was shut. The Kid even noticed the boat was stored in a different spot and the dogs were in the pen more often and not in the house as they normally were.<BR><BR>Once as the Kid started to leave the garage Mrs. Feeney appeared at the back door of the house and asked, “Are you looking for Mr. Feeney?†to which the Kid replied that indeed he was. Mrs. Feeney told the Kid that Mr. Feeney had gotten a new job and was traveling a lot of the time. The Kid told her thanks and started up the street to his home.<BR><BR>That spring the Kid thought that he was going to have to find something to keep busy with since it looked like he would not be spending much time with Mr. Feeney. The Kid went to the river and fished, and into the woods a lot but his mind kept thinking about all of the lessons Mr. Feeney had taught him. The Kid had gone to stores with his allowance and money he had earned doing different jobs, bought copies of many hunting magazines. In the evenings he would read the stories about duck hunting, duck boats, decoys, guns and anything that if it was about duck hunting. There were the articles by the likes of Zack Taylor and Jimmy Robinson. The humor of Ed Zern and others. One day the Kid was in the downtown area and went into the local sporting goods store. The owner of the store was on the school board with the Kid’s father and the Kid had been told he was a duck hunter. As the Kid entered the store the owner said hello and asked what he could do for the Kid. The Kid asked about some of the new decoys he had read about, guns that he saw in the ads, what kind of boats were going to be sold by the store. The owner of the sporting goods store gave him the information he requested and the Kid thanked him. Then the Kid asked the owner if he knew Me. Feeney. The owner said he did and that there were many guys who had tried to get Mr. Feeney to take them duck hunting with him and always turned down. Mr. Feeney was a complete loaner and no one hunted with him even though he was considered the “Best Duck Hunter†in those parts. The Kid smiled and thought of how lucky he was to have been at the quarry when he and Mr. Feeney met. <BR><BR>The information the sporting goods store owner had given the Kid started him thinking about how he would duck hunt that fall if indeed Mr. Feeney was working as he had been in the past months. It certainly seemed like that was going to be the case. The Kid had no money for all of the gear he had inquired about at the sporting goods store and since the Kid’s father was not a duck hunter the Kid knew he would never buy anything that the strange Mr. Feeney had or would recommend. With that in mind the Kid pondered what would be the first thing he would need if the possibility of trying it solo would come to pass. <BR><BR><BR>The Kid knew it would have to be a boat so he could get into the marsh and onto the lake where the better duck hunting was to be had. The Kid tried to think if there was an alternative solution to the high price. As the Kid was walking down the street one afternoon he noticed a car parked at the curb. The hood of a Nash Rambler car was a solid piece of metal and shaped like a bath tub. The Kid thought for a long time about that hood and came up with the idea if he had two of those hoods and cut them square then welded them together he would have his boat. The Kid had a friend whose family were local farmers and his father knew how to weld. The Kid visited his friend and told him of his idea. At first the friend laughed at the thought then later said it didn’t sound that crazy and he would ask his father if he would cut and weld the hoods. With that accomplished the Kid got on his bicycle and rode out to the edge of town to the wrecking yard. He asked the man working at the yard if he had two Nash Ramblers that he could get the hoods from. The man inquired why the Kid needed two hoods and the Kid once again got embarrassed by relating the idea of the boat. The man laughed very loudly and informed the Kid there were Nash Ramblers in the yard that had hoods on them and the Kid could go look for the ones he wanted and the price of the hoods would be five dollars each. The Kid thought how in the world would he get ten dollars! He only got a dollar for mowing and raking his family’s yard and if he mowed the neighbor’s lawn he got a dollar and a quarter. It would more than likely take all summer to get the money and that would only happen if the spring and summer had some good rains for the grass to grow. The Kid thanked the wrecking yard man and rode homr. He began to think that maybe he could get a job to get some money quickly to purchase the hoods.<BR><BR>The Kid started to go to all the neighbors asking if they wanted their yard mowed or if there were any odd jobs he could do to earn some money. He found three more yards to mow along with the neighbor’s lawn. The Kid added up what the possibility was to get the required money for the hoods. He figured if he could only mow all of the yards and mow and rake his own, he would have to mow and rake twice to make the money. Luck, if you wanted to call it that, must have been in the weather that spring. It rained often and the grass grew like weeds, The Kid mowed all the yards five times and ended up with thirty dollars. As soon his old tobacco can had ten dollars in it the Kid went to the friend whose father could do the cutting and welding. The Kid asked if he had spoken with his father. The friend said he had talked with him and he thought the Kid had lost his mind, but he would help out. This made the Kid happy but at the same time another problem arose. How would the Kid get the hoods from the wrecking yard and to the farm to be cut and welded? The Kid once again told his friend of the new problem. The friend’s father was standing there at the time and said he would take his truck to the wrecking yard and pick them up. This pleased the Kid. The following day the Kid rode back to the wrecking yard. He told the man he was going to go out in the yard and pick the Nash Rambler hoods. The man said that when he had picked the cars to tell him which ones in the line were selected and he would take the hoods off and bring them to the front of the yard.<BR><BR>The Kid said ok and went out and selected the hoods. The father of the friend went the next day in his truck and picked up the hoods. While riding home the Kid thought it would be a good idea to draw a picture of how the hoods should be cut and what type of seats and other things that would make the “Boat†work properly. That evening the Kid sat in his room drawing pictures of his boat. This, unknown to the Kid, was a concept drawing that would eventually begin a future career in Engineering for him way down the road. The following day he rode back to the farm and showed the drawing his friend’s father. The man smiled and told the Kid he could follow the drawing to a Tee. The Kid did not realize the man had some ideas of his own.<BR><BR>Days passed that seemed like months for the Kid until his friend called and said his father had cut and welded the hoods. Eager to see what the boat looked like, the Kid rode as fast as his young legs could peddle that bike over to the farm. Upon reaching the farm and entering a work shop the Kid saw the father had gone way beyond what the Kid had drawn. He had not only cut and welded the hoods together but he had taken two by eights and made seats across the boat and welded short pieces of pipe on the sides for oar locks. What a sight that “Boat†was! Rounded at both ends, about two and a half feet deep, eight feet long, and maybe it would float. The next feat for the Kid was to figure a way to get this thing home. The Kid went back home and got some of the money he had collected by mowing more yards from the tobacco can. He tied his little brother’s wagon to the back of his bike and off he went to the local lumber yard to get some lumber. He got several two by fours and some other miscellaneous lumber, loaded the wagon and back to the house he rode. He fashioned a long cart looking contraption that could be tied onto the back of his bicycle or pulled by hand. The Kid’s little brother’s wagon now was missing two wheels and was conveniently partially hidden in the storage area of his parent’s garage. Taking some lengths of rope with him and attaching the cart to the back of his bike, the Kid was off to the farm to pick up his boat. The Kid and his friend loaded the boat onto the cart and tied it down with rope and back to the house the Kid went. The boat was surprisingly heavy and after a very difficult peddling job he finally made it home and unloaded the new boat. The Kid’s father came home that evening and saw that thing up next to the garage and asked the Kid what in the world it was and what was he going to do with it. The Kid responded that it was his new duck boat and he was going to test it to see if it would float and then use it for hunting ducks in the marsh and on the lake. His father half approved since he had been in conversations with the owner of the sporting goods store and was informed of the topic of conversation the Kid had with him in the store. The Kid’s father was suspicious of the questions the Kid had made to the sporting goods owner regarding Mr. Feeney, but did not bring up the topic with him at that point. <BR><BR>There would have to be a trip to the sporting goods store to get a pair of oars for the boat. When the Kid got to the sporting goods store and told the owner what he was doing and then he asked the owner how much he would have to pay for a pair of oars with oar locks and informed him that he only had fifteen dollars left to spend from his earnings. The sporting goods store owner went into the back room and brought a pair of oars out and <BR><BR>told the Kid they would run exactly fifteen dollars. The Kid handed him all of his money, took the oars and went home to get the boat. <BR><BR>The Kid took the boat to a nearby shallow pond for its maiden voyage. It took all the strength he had to unload that boat and push it down the banks of the pond into the water. <BR><BR>As the boat went into the pond it seemed to float quite well. The Kid got in and put the oars into the short pieces of pipe welded on the sides and pushed out into deeper water. As he rowed out into the pond the boat handled well and with both ends being pointed it seemed to work great in both directions. The Kid rowed for a long time all the while thinking how good it would be to have his own boat to duck hunt with. Finally he decided to go back to the banks of the pond. It was then that he noticed his feet getting wet. He looked down and sure enough there was a small amount of water in the bottom of the boat. When he got back to the bank he inspected the bottom of the boat and decided it was a small flaw in the welds that held the hoods together that was allowing some water to come into the boat. As he rode home he thought of ways to seal the bottom of the boat and finally came up with an idea that may work. One of the neighbors whose yard he had been mowing was repairing his roof and had buckets of black roofing mastic for sealing shingles. He asked the neighbor if he could have some of the mastic and got a small can full. The Kid applied the mastic to the entire weld area of the boat. The Kid’s father started to ask questions as to the sea worthiness of this so called boat. The Kid told his father all about the maiden voyage and how it had handle and that he had fixed a “Very Small†leak with the mastic. His father looked at the repair job and informed him that he was not to take the boat into the marsh or the lake until he witnessed the repair job had indeed fixed this “Very Small†leak.</SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></P> <P><!-- / message --></P>
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