By William Kloefkorn
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We drew plans and diagrams, then went about gathering the necessary lumber. It did not take very long. We found several short two-by-fours and some discarded barn boards at the village dump, then walked the local alleys until we had scrounged enough additional one-bys to ﬂesh out our project’s demands. We followed our diagrams, more or less, as we hammered our ﬁngers no less than our ten penny nails blue. It is a wonderful thing to watch a beautiful work of art evolve, especially if the work was devised by one’s own brain and is assembled by one’s own hands.
And though it was possible that someone else might have rescued the lunch bucket, it was not very probable. Mother, who also knew little or nothing about the chivalric romance, did not ﬁnd any of this amusing, so she had more or less ordered my father to go with me to the cow lot to supervise my retrieving the lunch bucket, and then, she said, you go with your son straight to Virginia Mae’s house where you see to it that your son returns the lunch bucket and apologizes for what he did. To a certain degree, then, my father was no less under the gun than I was.
The project had been completed, and each member of the family had contributed – Mother by goading 50 Father into undertaking the project, Father by accepting and ﬁnishing it – his tunnel beautifully and amply sculpted – sister by working overtime at the cafe, sons by toting away uncountable buckets and cans of south-central Kansas dirt. We were a family, after all, by God, and by God come the ﬁrst cold snap we would be a warm and cozy family, a family not without its comforts, notwithstanding the absence of an indoor facility and something softer than a rock or a brick for my sister to sleep on.