No cloppy boots damn it!
This is one of those all-time classic Chuck stories. One that was told over and over again by me and many others. It was told over and over again, whether Dad was around or not. When he was around, he was able to laugh right along with everyone on it, but I know because he admitted to me some regret in blowing up sometimes, this was one of those times.
I was probably 12 years old and it was in the fall and getting chilly. I remember it being chilly because I was wearing shorts that day but it was definitely borderline because I remember thinking, “Damn, I am cold.” If I recall correctly, I think CJ did not do something that day or screwed something up because I got wind from Mom that I needed to get out to the other barn and help Dad because he is on a war path.
Now looking back, the smarter thing to do, and this is a tip for all of you out there, if someone tells you that someone else is on the war path, stay the hell away. Do not go and try to calm them down. Your time is much better spent on something else while you wait for that other person to calm down. So you can imagine me walking across the driveway out to the other shop and lo and behold, Dad is walking right towards me. I remember him starting on on me, “Where the hell have you been?”
We met before I even had a chance to answer. He was screaming about me not helping him. Then he reached that point of peak crazy when you can either stop or take it to the next level. Well, Dad took it to the next level.
“AND THESE DAMN CLOPPY FUCKING BOOTS!” You see as I was walking towards him, when you have rubber boots on and shorts, with each step they clop against the back of your calves. I did not know he had such a hatred for the sound, but I sure found out. You see with each additional step towards him along the length of the drive in front of both barns, clop, clop clop. And each one pissed him off worse.
So anyway, he ripped off my boots and threw them across the road. And then he walked away. When you take it to that next level, when it gets to the ridiculous place, most people, unless they are really genuinely crazy, realize this and have to stop. Dad was at the ridiculous point so he just walked off back to the shop.
There I was, on a cold, wet day in the fall in Ohio and I was sitting in the gravel with my boots out in the soybean field across the road. Needless to say, I scurried across the road, got my boots, and got the hell out of there.
If someone is on the warpath, stay the hell away.