Archive for December, 2010

Funny Voice

I’m about to reveal a deep dark family secret.

Just about everyone in our family does an imitation of my mother. Back in the day, a comedian couldn’t make it without impressions of Ed Sullivan, Richard Nixon and Howard Cosell. At our family events, you need to have Grandmom Barbara in your repertoire.

My Mom taught kindergarten for more than 35 years, and she has never lost the cadence of a kindergarten teacher sharing a fascinating lesson with five-year-olds.

A typical phone message to us will start, “Kids?” Pause. “It’s Mom.” Pause. “I just wanted to make sure everyone is safe in the snow.” Pause.  All said with a sing-song intonation that is a tad too loud. Mom, if you are reading this, you should know that the imitations are done with great affection.

Clay may be the only one who doesn’t have a Grandmom Barbara impression down. But that didn’t stop him from joining the fun over the holidays. Read the rest of this entry »


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Miles to Go

Relations seem to be warming between Clay and Miles, the basset hound we adopted two months ago. We don’t know a lot about our new dog’s background. What we do know is that he was found tied behind an abandoned house, half starved and suffering from heart worm. Even though he is seven years old, most of the experiences of being part of a family seem new to him. It has been interesting watching Clay respond to that, especially as we worked our way through Christmas and the subsequent snowstorm this past week. Read the rest of this entry »

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Christmas Cheer

Clay opening a present

Opening a gift on Christmas morning

Just when I think I’ve started to figure Clay out, he tosses a curve ball.

He had what we thought was a full Christmas this year.

We spent Christmas Eve with my wife’s family. She is one of five, so it was a full house at her brother’s place. We know from experience to prepare for the possibility that Clay won’t last long. So, my wife and older son arrived around 3 p.m. Clay and I showed up fashionably late around 5 p.m.

The party was in full swing when we got there. (I’ve noticed that the greetings are louder and warmer if you arrive when everyone is already a couple beers ahead of you.) Clay typed “Merry Christmas” on the keyboard he uses to communicate, shook a few hands (my wife’s family doesn’t let him get away without a greeting), typed “Sorry to hear about your dog.” for my sister-in-law who received some sad news about one of the family’s cocker spaniels recently, then shot upstairs to the comparative quiet of the landing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ornament Tournament

Little boy and Christmas treeSunday night, we began the yearly battle known in our house as decorating the Christmas tree.

First, I hauled the artificial tree from the basement, along with our waterlogged box of ornaments and set up operations in a corner of the living room. Then, I pieced together the tree, which emerges from its storage box with fewer branches each year as it moves inevitably toward Charlie Brown status. Next I untangled a sad strip of white lights, an emergency, late night purchase from a pharmacy a few years back when the multicolored ones declared an untimely work stoppage.

Finally, we moved to the ornaments, the very center of the battlefield. The raw meat tossed to the lion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stay Strong

We’re lucky enough to have a celebrity guest blog today from none other than my wife (Clay’s Mom, typing partner and number one fan) Roe DeLuca, who is holding down the fort in more ways than one while I’m off in exotic lands—well, Connecticut—at another speaking engagement.

If you’ve been reading “Life With Clay,” you know that supported typing has opened up Clay’s world—and it’s giving us snippets of insight into a young man who is intelligent, aware and soulful.

For instance, when Larry was having difficulty with providing the right resistance when supporting Clay in typing, Clay told him to “keep it real.”

When our dog Maverick passed away, Clay told us that Maverick had been in pain “since Sunday” because “I can feel it.”

Other times, the message is strictly communicative.  Last night, for instance, Clay was upstairs in his room watching Toy Story for the 500th time, when he suddenly started crying. I fully expected it to be one of his headaches, but he informed me otherwise: “A tag is bothering my neck.” Read the rest of this entry »