Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hillbilly Cargo Carrier

My Mom’s Mom left her china closet to my Mother when she passed away 5 years ago. Mom asked us three kids if any of us were interested in having the closet. Both my youngest sister and I expressed an interest in owning this family heirloom. My mother refused to decide which of the two of us would get grandma’s china closet. She kept telling us “You two work it out.”

Well neither of us made any effort to work it out. We both suspected that Mom just was trying to start a fight and neither of us wanted any part of that. So the china closet sat in the corner of Mom and Dad’s living room, unused, for 5 years.

When my sister and I asked Dad about the China Closet last week he defaulted to Mom’s decision and told us that we would have to work it out between the two of us. So my sister and I decided to work it out between us. I immediately started referring to it as my china closet as often as I could during the week. My sister asked me what my plans for the closet were and I decided to play a little hardball just to see what her reaction would be. So I said “it goes home with me this week or it stays here.”

She stopped for a moment and asked me “Do you have a plan to be able to get it home this week?” I replied with an emphatic “Yes! I have a plan.” I did have a plan. I planned on trying to get her to let me have the china closet. After that I would come up with something. My sister just looked surprised and walked away.

After several more days of me referring to the china closet as ‘My New China Closet’ my sister finally had a sit down talk with her daughter and they decided that in exchange for some concessions on my part for several other pieces of furniture I could have the china closet. I really do like the other pieces of furniture that my sister insisted I trade for, but not as much as the china closet. So I was willing to let them go. After all I can always go visit them at her house.

This put me into a real bind. It was approximately 24 hours until we were scheduled to leave town and I had to come up with a plan on how to get that china closet home that was more than just saying I had a plan. So I waved good bye to my dear wife and headed to the lumber yard to wander around and think up an idea or two.

Two hours later I returned back to my Father’s house with three sheets of 7/16 OSB four sheets of ¾ inch Styrofoam, some plastic sheeting, five 2x2s and a box of screws.

I measured, sawed and measured again for a couple hours but didn’t get very far. I had a gallery of onlookers just hanging out in the front yard gawking at me. I don’t work well with an audience. So a puttered around and tried to ignore all the comments being made about “engineers with tools” and “it’s measure twice, cut once, not measure once, cut twice.”

The next morning I had the front yard to myself and I got a lot more done. Then 2 hours before Mom’s Memorial Service was scheduled to start I had the China Closet packed and loaded on top of the van.


As soon as the rest of the family saw this the comments started flying like mosquitoes at an everglades nudist colony.

Eventually my creation was dubbed the Hillbilly Cargo Carrier and if anyone asked we got it at Redneck Rentals.

It may have been ugly but it rode up there well. It cruised through slamming on the braked to miss a couple deer, and several miles of nasty California highway just fine. My gas milage only went down abut 3 mpg but I can't blame all of the that on the Hillbilly Cargo Carrier. We had the inside of the van really loaded down, and we bucking some pretty strong winds the last 400 miles of the trip.

The china closet arrived home undamaged. But I did get some pretty interesting looks from people at the gas stations though. We stopped for a bathroom and stretch break at Little America in western Wyoming and another traveler was making some supposedly funny remarks about aerodynamic boxes when my dear wife walked past us. I was tempted to grab her, kiss her and ask “ready to get on the road sis?” In retrospect, I should have done it.

I'm retiring the hillbilly cargo carrier today. It was put together with screws so it would come apart again. But you know, with just a little modification I could use it as a truck topper for my little dodge pickup. I'll have to run that one by my dear wife and kids.

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