Author: clint (page 1 of 4)

Throwback Thursday 2017.07.13

July 2006, on US-69 near Eufaula Lake in Oklahoma. Taken from the front seat of a 1997 International Eagle. I saw the train coming, held the camera up with one hand, and clicked the shutter without looking. #ThrowbackThursday #tbt

The truck I was driving that day later became Bobbie Jo, one of two trucks I owned. The second truck was named Billie Jo. Both trucks were named after the daughters on Petticoat Junction.  Both trucks were farm girls. They worked hard, didn’t mind getting dirty, and they cleaned up real nice when they got a bath.  Lots o’ curves, you bet, even more when you get to the junction And here’s some cool trivia:

“The idea for Petticoat Junction came from Paul Henning’s wife. She used to tell him stories of her childhood when she was visiting her family’s hotel in Eldon, Missouri. The stories she used to tell Paul about her adventures at the Burris Hotel became the basis of the show.”

Also, the dog on Petticoat Junction, which never had a name on the show – they always called it “the dog” – later became famous as Benji. His real name was Higgins, and he and Uncle Joe were real-life buddies.

Merry Christmas From The Forgy’s

The Forgy’s did our Christmas shindig on New Year’s Eve at Forgy Funny Farm, my brother Kirk’s place buried deep on top of a mountain in Mid-Missouri. I know you think I’m crazy but my bro is way worse. He told me once that he admires the way I do my own career thing. If I get sick of a company or even an entire field I’ll give it the boot to the head. But that proves how crazy he really is.

Kirk works at the only maximum security psychiatric facility in the state of Missouri. Inside those walls is the most dangerous place in the state of Missouri. Read that again until it sinks in. He goes there daily on purpose. A maximum security prison for crazy people who are even more dangerous than your average garden variety violent criminal. Just the thought of walking through that gate and being inside all that razor wire and evil is too weird for me.

Kirk also calls his place Copperhead Ridge Funny Farm since all they seem to grow is copperhead snakes. I once told him when they legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri I’ll have every inch of his five acres plowed up before he gets home from work that day. He told me he didn’t have a tractor big enough to get it done before supper time. I said his neighbors do. He grinned and said “Don’t hit the snakes or the neighbors.”

I rode to the Forgy Funny Farm with my #2 boy Z and his girlfriend. When we were walking up to the door, she said she could take a nap. I said “I wouldn’t take a nap in there. I don’t trust any of these fuckers.” She didn’t laugh because she thinks I’m kidding, and she knows Z is a little crazy.  But Z laughed because he knew I wasn’t kidding. Most of us Forgy’s sleep with one eye open, but Z often slept with both of his eyes open. It creeped out both of my ex wives, even his own mother sometimes, but nobody can sneak up on him, either. That’s a handy skill to have in this family. You can avoid a whole world of doom and gloom by keeping your eyeball on the other Forgy because we absolutely love terrorizing each other on some level or another.

We walked in the door of the Forgy Funny Farm and my favorite oldest granddaughter J was coming down the stairs. She’s as crazy as the rest of us but it’s not all her fault. Her dad is my #1 oldest son D, and her mom is every bit as crazy as Z’s girlfriend. I warned both girls that they were falling in love with grown men who bumped their heads way more than FDA standards allow and they still didn’t run.

So J comes stomping down the stairs, sees me standing just inside the door grinning at her, and she called me by a nickname that would make Norman Rockwell want to paint her portrait. I wait for this every time I see her because even though it might horrify some grandparents, to me, it’s a term of endearment. And when J’s eight year old innocence greets me with these two words, it makes my heart melt.

“Hey, butthead!”

The chase was on! I run faster than the average Forgy. I had to run from Kirk more than once, and J had a big head start. I caught up with her before she topped the stairs and chased her to the Ping-Pong table where her sister H grinned back. The girls and I got caught up with what was new, and I said I was going downstairs to talk to everyone else. I told J to give me a hug, and she did, a big neck-crusher. Then a Christmas Miracle happened. I told H, who’s never given me a hug since she was too tiny to fight back, “Come here and gimme a hug!”  H almost flew across the Ping-Pong table, and I got my second neck-crusher hug of the day. That one meant a lot. I’ve tried to hug on that kid for years, but this time she wanted it to happen.

True story!

When we did our gift exchange someone handed me a bag that didn’t say who it was from. I reached in and pulled out the shirt you see right there. I read “show me your tits and I’ll open your beer” and laughed, and then D pointed at the bottom of the shirt. There’s a bottle opener sewn into the hem of the shirt. Perfect!

I looked around the room but nobody was grinning back at me until I turned to D’s wife M. She had a big grin on her face and asked me if I liked it. I told her I loved it, and she said “Good, your granddaughter picked it out.” My mouth dropped open and I turned to look at J, who was sitting on the floor in front of us. I said “You picked this out?”

“Yup!”

I turned to M and she said “J can read.”

I was speechless. My eight year old granddaughter picked out a shirt that says it all, and she knew what she was doing! No wonder my grandparents were horrified how quickly we grew up.

 

If you think I’m not serious when I say Kirk is crazier than I, take a look at this news clip video. By the 37 second mark you’ll be convinced.

Merry Christmas!  Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Throwback Thursday 2016.12.29

Clint, the Human Fountain. 1975, maybe. My eyes are up to the left.  #ThrowbackThursday #tbt

My sis named this photo “Clint, the human fountain” when she scanned Mom’s old photo albums. Now you know why we both need therapy.

Happy 101st Birthday, Grandma Forgy!

My Grandma Forgy would be 101 today. I sometimes feel like I’m not working hard enough so I can skid into the Afterlife with my pants on fire, but she never stopped encouraging me to keep on keepin’ on.
“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations.”
― Ralph Marston
She was one of a handful of people in my life who never said “You can’t do that, do this instead.” Her advice to her family seemed conceited at times, but I’ve grown comfortable with it over the years.
“You are a Forgy. You can do anything.”
So far, she’s right. And she could do anything too.
  • At 15 years old, she graduated from high school. She was smart.
  • She married Harlan Forgy, who she’d been friends with since childhood. You have to be a little crazy to marry into the Forgy’s.
  • Gave birth to my dad, Roy, in 1939, while Europe and the rest of the world watched war brewing again. She hoped for the best.
  • Later graduated from William Penn College. She never stopped improving herself.
  • Taught elementary school in Bussey, Iowa for years. Did I mention she was a little crazy?
  • She beat breast cancer into submission. She was tough.
  • Let my Dad live even after his endless quips and barbs directed at her. She had a great sense of humor.

“Blanche was a fiercely devoted mother who truly delighted in the company of her children and grandchildren. She was also a talented poet, a voracious reader and a musician. She was known for her wide-ranging intellectual curiosity and her (occasionally wicked) sense of humor.
Blanche Forgy Obituary

Grandma passed her intellectual curiosity down to me. It’s always felt like I can never absorb enough information about anything but I give it a shot. When I was in second grade, I received a book on volcanos from Scholastic. I sucked every word off every page, and breathlessly relayed my new specialty to her on our next visit. When I mentioned magma, the conversation took a turn.

Grandma: What’s magma?
Me: [my expression full of disbelief] You don’t know what magma is?

I stared at her, a grade school teacher, with what I’m sure was a second grader’s version of “Are you an idiot?” I thought everyone knew what magma was. I was surprised when everyone sitting around the kitchen table burst out laughing. I glanced around the table and all eyes were on me. If you’ve never watched a flock of Forgy’s laughing at something you said or did, you have no idea how intimidating it could be. I wasn’t sure what was so funny. I turned back to look at Grandma, who still cackled with laughter, and I could see and feel her eyes saying “You made me laugh. Thanks!

Several years later, we were sitting at that same kitchen table. I don’t recall who was there other than my Dad, Grandma Forgy, and myself. I was somewhere in my early teens, and the subject of sex came up. I threw some smartass comment into the conversation- I forget what it was now – and Dad turns to me:

Dad: Sometime we need to have that talk about the birds and the bees.
Me: Okay, anytime. I’ll tell you anything you want to know.

Dad’s eyes filled with amusement but he didn’t say a word. For one, he was grinning so hard it would have made his cheeks too sore. And nobody would have heard him anyway over the (volcano pun alert!) eruption of laughter. This time, I didn’t look around the room to see why everyone was laughing. I only looked at Grandma, into her eyes, and I could see and feel her tell me again. “You made me laugh. Thanks!

During a family gathering at my Dad’s home in Ottumwa, Iowa, Grandma watched my oldest son Derik play on the floor. I noticed her grinning down at him, over at me, and I grinned back.

Grandma: He’s a keeper.
Me: That’s what the damn lawyers said too. He is my favorite only son.
Grandma: [wicked grin] You were always my favorite oldest grandkid.

One year at Christmas at Dad’s, I was upstairs watching my Uncle Jim show his oldest son David how to handle a gun safely. It was a rite of passage. I’d been through it, and watched my favorite only brother Kirk go through it, too. My dad Roy had two gun cabinets in the upstairs hallway of his home in Ottumwa. That might seem excessive but he had more than a dozen guns when he died. Dad was watching Jim and David go over the ritual of gun safety, not saying a word. When we grinned at each other he unconsciously took a sideways step toward me. I knew he was remembering one of many lessons he had passed down to me over the years.

Uncle Jimmy was holding the business end of the barrel of the rifle David was holding against his shoulder, offering tips and rules on how to always be safe, “close the eye you’re not looking in the scope with,” never ever point at another human, etc. I didn’t need to watch the tutorial, I’d seen it many times. Watching David memorize everything Jim said while his eyes lit up with enthusiasm was what kept Dad, a handful of other family members, and myself glued to the ritual. We were beaming down at David when Grandma reached the landing of the stairs on a quest for the restroom and realized her six year old grandson was slowly moving a deer rifle away from her general direction. The conversation went like this:

Grandma: [silence but wickedly amused grin] Uncle Jimmy: Hey Ma. Go out for a long one.

It was another perfect deadpan delivery from Uncle Jimmy, a joke he delivered to the Forgy clan as if he were a football coach. It was all I could do to keep from crumpling to the floor and curling up in the fetal position while my stomach muscles cramped up from the belly laugh. David looked at the faces in the hallway, and I grinned and winked at him. I’d been where he was so I knew the feeling. Then I scanned the room to see everyone else’s face before turning to look at Grandma again. She was laughing right along with us. Wicked sense of humor is right.

Every Thanksgiving, Grandma would make this … Stuff. I forget all the derogatory terms her own kin gave to this dish over the years, but I’ll describe this Stuff to the best of my recollection. It was green Jello and something else, but I don’t remember what the something else was. Maybe carrots, or corn, or pickled pig’s feet. Maybe all of the above. Dad claimed she scraped it off the dungeon walls of the giant farmhouse in Albia, Iowa. The dungeon was where Grandpa Forgy fought and won battles with a coal-fired stove the size of the Titanic. It was also where Grandma Forgy kept the torture rack, according to my Dad.

Grandma would always tell Dad to make sure he got plenty of the Stuff, and I always made sure I wasn’t drinking anything when he replied. It was always something new, and I never failed to laugh, and hard. Just a few of his replies off the top of my head:

  • I’ve never eaten a vegetable in my life and I’m not starting now!
  • It has bones in it!
  • I hope you fall down the stairs getting next year’s harvest!

He didn’t mean a word of it, she knew it, and laughed every single time.

1967 Pontiac GTO. Grandpa Forgy’s GTO was red, and If I remember correctly, it was a convertible.

My Grandpa Forgy always drove giant Cadillacs and Buicks, and not because he was a showoff. He was that too, a little, but he bought cars big enough to live in because he had a wife and five kids to haul around.

During the Muscle Car craze of the 1960’s he bought a 1967 Pontiac GTO off the showroom floor. It seems to me it was a convertible but I can’t remember for sure. I know it was red, and it had the red pinwheel stripes around the tires, very shiny, and beautiful. Not nearly as beautiful as my female crushes at the time, but I was in love with that car from the instant we heard it rumble up the street and park at the curb at 227 Marianna Avenue, the home I grew up in. They had come to our house to take us for a ride. And what a ride it was!

We climbed in the back seat, and Grandpa brought to life the sexiest piece of machinery I’d ever been in. That car was an animal! I could feel it vibrate deep in my heart parts. Grandpa let out the clutch and we idled in first gear to the end of our street. When we turned onto Glenwood Avenue, I could feel the beast unleash. Grandpa drove it smoothly, like there was an eggshell between his foot and the accelerator, and I listened to the RPMs climb steadily, a brief jerk of my head going forward when he slipped the gearshift into second gear, then another tug on my neck as she — all vehicles are female to me — as she pushed my head backward on my neck. I remember thinking “This is the most powerful machine I’ve ever been in!” What I didn’t know was that Grandpa hadn’t even scratched the surface of her abilities.

We reached the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Ferry Street, and waited until the coast was clear to make the left turn to head north on Ferry Street, toward the highway. We stopped at a red light, and a young guy in a brand new Camaro pulled next to us. I looked over at his Camaro and noticed the window sticker from the Chevy dealer still glued in place. I also noticed when he blipped the throttle a few times and looked over at Grandpa as if Grandpa owned him money. Mr. Camaro was ignored for a few seconds, then Grandpa turned and stared with his thousand yard stare. And believe me when I tell you this: When Harlan Forgy stared, bulls of every species, even if they were in heat,  looked the other way.

The light turned green and the GTO turned into a jet fighter. Grandpa stomped on the accelerator, slipped his foot off the clutch, and we were cleared for takeoff. The GTO, or Goat as they were nicknamed, stuck her rear end in the air, wiggled to one side, and filled the Iowa night with a scream I’ve heard and can’t get enough of. It was on!

I stared up at the starry sky not out of boredom, but out of sheer torque. If I had any idea what that She-Goat was capable of I would have been wearing a neck brace, a grin from ear to ear, and an extra pair of tighty whities on the outside of my pants. I was convinced we were going to die. When Grandpa pushed the clutch in to change gears, my head jerked forward from the negative G-force so fast I thought it landed somewhere on the hood. He dumped the clutch again, gave second gear all it was good for, and did it again into third gear. In every gear, the sound of the Goat’s V-8 powerplant would rise from a growl to a scream. And another scream filled the air, too: “Harlan! Harlan Forgy!” Yup, you guessed it. Blanche was what they call displeased. Harlan wasn’t listening, and the brake pedal on her side of the Goat wasn’t working. I took a good look at the Camaro and admired the beauty of it’s grille.

We reached fourth gear and Grandpa took his foot off the gas pedal. I could see his grin even though my eyes felt like they were crossed. We rolled to a stop at the next light, and another Forgy witticism was etched into my brain:

Grandma: Stop so I can drive!
Grandpa: You can’t drive this car.
Grandma: Why not?
Grandpa: You’re in the wrong seat.

It would be years before I would defy my grandparents in any way, but all I was thinking was “Do that again!

Blanche once wrote: “I am really rich: my treasures are my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren, and my dear friends, who love me even when I am not lovable.” (May 2007, Iowa Writes, a program of the University of Iowa.)  She wrote a book of poetry. I’d rather eat a handful of carpet tacks than read most poetry, but I read hers from cover to cover in one sitting. They were heartfelt glimpses into her soul at what was going on around her at the time.

I played alto saxophone, and wondered if Grandma Forgy would be disappointed when she learned I traded in my sax for a bass guitar between elementary and junior high school. Nope. She was immensely pleased and said she couldn’t wait to hear me play. During another visit at my Dad’s place, Grandma voiced her opinion that while she was pleased Dad added the pipe organ to his amazing repertoire of mastered instruments, she hoped he wouldn’t give up the piano completely.

Me: You should have known he would start playing the organ.
Grandma: [eyes dancing, anticipating another laugh] Why is that?
Me: He never could keep his hands off of his.

My horoscope always seems to be full of lies. It’s not their fault, I usually have the exact opposite events it predicts. Like this:

You have an awful lot to say now, and you won’t care at all what someone else thinks of it.

Everything before the comma is true, everything after is a lie. My Grandma Forgy was looking over my shoulder watching every keystroke this morning. She’s always had my back, like in this photo taken on my fourth birthday,  and she still has it.

If you’ve read my novels, you know I talk about a woman’s eyes a lot.

Eyes are the window to the Soul.

Look in her eyes.

Look in mine.

Hear me now?

Happy birthday, Grandma! And Happy Holidays.

Pick up a free copy of Mirth Defects.

Don’t take my word for it. Award winning author Carole P. Roman loved it too.

Best Review Ever (So Far)

A great review of Mirth Defects by Carole P. Roman.

Mirth Defects by Clint Forgy is one of those books that reminds me of Forrest Gump’s famous box of chocolates: “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Hysterically rich and with a vivid voice, Forgy writes a story of JD Ferguson, a young boy growing up in middle America in the early 70’s, born in a small town in Iowa.
Forgy begins his novel with JD’s birth. He arrives with the clarity and sarcastic wit of an old soul, entering this world as if he’s ready for action, and indeed he is. This is the story of JD’s life and how his world evolves; the highs and lows, the rites of passage that bring him to manhood.

This is no boring accounting. It’s fun, lush and complex, laced with humor, and filled with soft memories of riding bikes up and down a street in the hazy twilight. JD has it all. The agony of a boy’s kindergarten crush, first kisses and the tender passion of young love. The story is rich, as real life as it can get, astoundingly insightful and side-splittingly funny.

Forgy is a brilliant author with the rare skill of growing JD’s voice from boy to man. His delightful sense of humor and flair for dangerous pranks left me breathlessly reading, wondering how JD and his cohorts would escape unscathed. The cast of characters includes JD’s younger brother Bob, his best friend Gasser, and the lovely Lana.

Roadapple Ridge is a town possessed of fodder, ripe for Forgy’s pen. JD and his cohorts leap from scrape to scrape, with JD’s sharp mind constantly outsmarting the locals. At times, it reads like those old Keystone Cops silent movies. The only sounds were my own chuckles. It’s a special book that makes you laugh, even better when it makes your eyes sting, and Mirth Defects has the distinct honor of doing both.

Forgy is a wonderful writer, stepping forward to give a voice to the twilight of the twentieth  century. Dinner was eaten with your parents, you rode your bike until the stars were out, and you went steady instead of hooking up. Despite his rough and tumble ways, JD has a sweetness. While he may court trouble, he knows when to do the right thing. Better than that, he knows when to say it. He tells his girlfriend, “If you think you’re ten foot tall then you are,” letting us know he has become a man. When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, JD says, “I’m trying to hear him breathe one more time.” That line undid me, voicing true grief in a way that says it all.

Near the end, JD laments,”You can’t always get what you want but sometimes you get what you need.” Mirth Defects manages to do both, giving the reader everything they want as well as what they need.

Impressed? Me too! I’m glowing like I’m pregnant and I’m almost sure I’m not.

Stop by and check out Carole’s site and get your favorite kiddos something for Christmas. Baby, it’s cold outside. May as well curl up with a great book or three.

If you hurry you can get Mirth Defects free when you join the VIP Readers Club. Or, spend money at your favorite book retailer this December. See if I care!

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Sneak peak of Mirth Defects

 

Cover Reveal For “Mirth Defects”

I’m very pleased to announce the new cover for Mirth Defects, my debut novel. Katie at KatieCody.com, amazed me by how well she nailed it in so many ways.

A newborn boy begins the search for his soul mate.

From the day he was born, JD Ferguson knew what was missing: his soul mate. Mirth Defects, the prequel to The Seduction of Granny, is a fiction novel about the early years of JD Ferguson, his brother Bob, their buddies Gasser Jameson and Tiny Steele, and the adventures they experience growing up in the fictional town of Roadapple Ridge, Iowa.

I can’t say enough great things about this cover. I sent Katie a copy of Mirth Defects, and told her I wasn’t sure what the concept should be. I basically said “I have no idea,” and asked her to show me what the story was about.

One, our beloved hero JD Ferguson falls in love with the nurse who wrapped him in a blanket the minute he was born. Two, he falls in love (see the guy falling?) many times over the years. Three, Mirth Defects is a coming-of-age story. In a metaphorical sense, JD gives up his teddy in exchange for a chance to meet his soul mate.

Bam! There is no way I could have come up with a better cover on my own.

Thanks, Katie!

Where There’s A Will: Inspector Stone Book One

I have a friend from the UK, Alex Carver, who’s recently released a book called Where There’s A Will: Inspector Stone Book One that I know you would enjoy. I’ve read the beginning using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. It’s very compelling, and the book cover mesmerizes me. I have over 100 books in my personal “wanna read it” list, and this one’s in the #1 slot. That’s no small feat considering there’s a Stephen King novel on my list.

Alex can explain the synopsis better than I can:

An armed robbery, a kidnapping, and an enemy that’s closer than anyone realises.

Inspector Stone has to put aside problems at home and an ambitious underling when the daughter of a local businessman is kidnapped, and a multi-million Euro ransom demanded for her return.
Can he find her and return her safely to her parents when the kidnappers are dangerously close to home?

About the book
This is the first in my Inspector Stone series, which is set, for the most part, in the fictional small English town of Branton, I have six books queued up in the series, to be released over the next few years, with more ideas to be written; the character of Inspector Stone was inspired by David Jason’s Inspector Frost, and by the variety of other British detectives I have read and seen on TV.

About the Author
Alex Carver has worked in the clerical, warehouse and retail industries over the years, without gaining much satisfaction, and has now quit to follow his dream and become a full-time writer. The Inspector Stone series already has 1 title released with book 2, An Eye For An Eye due out in 2017 and 4 others in various stages of being written. Alex is always working on Written In Blood, a thriller about a serial killer, which is due out in early 2017.

One review on Amazon says “Meticulously detailed and realistic, Where There’s a Will, is a terrific crime drama. Nate Stone is a dedicated inspector assigned to investigate a robbery at a festival. Could the the fleeing robbers be guilty of a hit and run, as well?” Those two lines convinced me even more.

Alex, like me, is an Independent Author. That means he’s written, marketed, and published his novel with little or no outside help, independent of the giant publishing conglomerates. That’s a tough row to hoe, but the best fiction novels in the universe are being written by Alex and writers like him. Take a chance and a peek at Where There’s A Will: Inspector Stone Book One. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy Birthday, Bro!

Happy birthday to my brother Kirk! This photo was taken on the day he turned Terrible Two. You can see why we turned out borderline pyromaniacs. Disclaimer: it’s merely coincidence he was born on Pearl Harbor day. #HappyBirthday

kirk-2nd-bday

It’s Snowing!

It’s snowing! First snow of the season, and I can’t help but feel like a little kid at heart.

First snow of the season, 12/04/2016

First snow of the season, 12/04/2016

Book Cover Concepts

Click on the thumbnails to view the full size cover.

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