I talked to Tonia Molz on Friday on the phone for a little while to get some school board info so I asked her again about how her dad got his name. She had asked her mom and Marge thought Tuffy’s dad gave his kids their nicknames. There were four girls and four boys with Tuffy about the middle, she said. There is a younger brother named Finis who their dad called Mike. Tuffy started off as Howard.

That reminded me of the late Nubby Ketterman whose official name was Finis and graduated with my class.

– Kimball or Gwen was going through some of the plunder Kimball has accumulated in the office in the name of “change” and found a small Bible that “Parents” gave to Kenneth Wayne Long on Dec. 25, 1958, in Mom’s handwriting. I don’t suppose that as a 12 year old I was as proud of the Bible as I am today. I have a much bigger one they gave me a few years later that I use all the time.

I can tell what I was doing in church back then. I have no memory of doing this, but I made a list of “All my pets, dogs, cats, horses, goat.” I gave them all the last name of Long.

I only remember Rocket, the horse that Margaret and I shared; Scotty, a brown two-tone Shepard mix, and Snowball, a goat Dad purchased for a quarter at Earnie Clawson’s auction barn on the west side of First Street. Snowball was predictable. When company drove up, all you had to do to locate the goat was look in the middle of their car’s roof.

I didn’t see it, but Dad and Mom told me about this one. Mom and Dad decided to dig a cellar the day after a tornado came though a half mile north of our house and we spent part of the night under the Little Clear Creek bridge listening to the storm rumble like a freight train. Bed rock wasn’t far below the surface and Dad was pretty good with dynamite. He used it to “dig” holes for corner posts.

Dad would pack the holes so the charge didn’t blow rock toward the house.

He and Mom had drilled another hole and loaded it with dynamite. They tried to keep the goat back, but Snowball just had to see what was going on. As the goat looked over the edge into the hole that would become a storm shelter and fruit storage spot, Dad touched the wires to the battery igniting the charge. The little goat ran completely around the house giving two or three bleats at every hop. Goat wasn’t hurt but Mom and Dad almost hurt themselves laughing.

There are eight more pets on my old list, but Margaret nor I can remember even one of them, probably all cats with names like Old Yeller Tom.

We went to the cellar a few times over the years. One time in particular the wind was really howling. Feeling brave in our hidy hole, I pulled back with a pick or an axe and told the storm to bring it on. It did. A big limb crashed down across the beveled cellar entrance taking all the bravery out of me for a minute or two.

A storm shelter was the first thing we poured when we built our house. We were in it the night we heard on the radio that Princess Diana died. KL