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It's a mad, mad, mad, mad love

In Cedar Rapids the auto mechanics class was filled up for the next five years, so Rick opted to take an ag mechanics class instead. Big advantage – starts in the fall. Big disadvantage – takes twice as long as auto mechanics. But, always being a long term thinker, Rick flipped a coin and it came up 'don't wait five years for something to happen.'

In the waiting period before classes started Rick went back to being a paper boy (this time delivering the papers to the boys), while he drove the 'outcalls' vehicle for a local massage parlor. His job was to take the girl to the door of the hotel room and make sure the client saw him, so there wouldn't be any hanky panky. It always made Rick wonder what they were paying for, if it wasn't hanky panky. Then he was hired at the General Mills plant, where he spent seven weeks getting more and more enthusiastic about being a student. Nevertheless he did work with large quantities of spices in the Hamburger Helper production room – a glimmer of his future career. And he was told to come back if he ever needed a job. He didn't.

And – much more important – along the way Rick met Colleen. That's not her real name, but for privacy reasons we'll use it anyway. They shared a common interest in vegetarian food, food coops, foreign travel, loud music, organic gardening, self-sufficiency, natural birth control, and making babies. Four of them in fact, between September 3, 1976 and July 13, 1981. It was a production line.

Saasha, Loc, Coleman, Kane. Every one of the babies was delivered at home, with no doctors, nurses or midwives present. Colleen did the heavy lifting (pushing?) while Rick stood around waiting to make sure the baby didn't hit the floor before he caught the slippery little thing. They were golden years.

As things sometimes happen, after the fourth baby hit the scene Rick and Colleen separated and then divorced. Today they are still friends (not to imply there were not some rocky parts between then and now), and Rick looks forward every time he gets a chance to stop by Colleen's beautiful country spread and help himself to a plateful of her home cooked meals, featuring organic food from her own enormous set of gardens.

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