I grew up in a small town where there wasn’t a lot for kids to do but just be kids and play in the great outdoors. That was plenty enough though, believe me. My sisters and I made dirt houses lined with pebbles, floors swept down to the hard dirt, rocks and logs for furniture, and we served each other our fancy mud pie concoctions. We played secret maze games between the sheets hanging on the line until we got hollered at to get away with our unclean hands. We climbed Tank Hill just for something to do, and then tried to RUN down it without stumbling. Sometimes we took a picnic lunch up there and ate it overlooking the town where we could watch all the goings on. One time I climbed the tank – which was a mistake. I guess I’m a little afraid of heights I found out. My grandpa had to come and rescue me, and right after he called a welder to cut off the ladder so it couldn’t ever be climbed up by a kid again. Oh dear!
We had bikes and rode them all over a whole vast network of oilfield roads, to secret places – under bridges, the old electric plant, and to the pond to catch frogs and salamanders and horny toads by the dozens, but hopefully not see any snakes – ’cause ewwww, girls don’t like snakes! We all played ball or watched the games, and we all sat on the fences at the ranch rodeos and watched the cowboys do their stuff. Sometimes they even let us run the hot-shot on the steers in the shoots, and open the shoot gates for the ropers.
Our little oilfield community had the first lighted baseball field, and the first lighted football field in the whole state. We had a bowling alley, and a swimming pool, and in the winter we had a frozen pond to ice skate on. They say we even had a golf course, but it wasn’t like any golf course you’ve ever seen – just dirt and rocks and prairie, with flags stuck in holes here and there. The clubhouse was just a corregated tin outbuilding, but it was something to do for those that are into that stuff!
If there was nothing else to do it was always fun to watch dad tinker with something in his shop, or tag along with him to his work. I got to tag along once to the Blue Creek Ranch out by Kaycee, and they let me ride an old nag of horse all day long while dad fixed whatever it was they needed him to fix. And my grandpa could be found in his massive garden most all summer. It was fun to pick and eat peas while he watered and weeded. I sometimes took my matchbook cars and made trails along the rows of corn. I accidentally sat in an ant pile once though, and that wasn’t so much fun! My grandma was always in the kitchen sowing or cooking. And when me and my sisters stayed at her house, it was fun to play secretary with pens and notebooks in the garage. Sometimes we’d nap with grandpa in the afternoons on the bed they kept out there, where the cool breezes blew through.
There was always a lady in town that taught piano lessons, and occasionally someone would travel through with gymnastics or dance classes, and our families all went camping and to the lake as often as we could. My folks had a motorcycle and a scooter and we went for rides as a family, sometimes be gone all day! And everyone in town met at the sand rocks to shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July – all of the families, and we shared our snacks and our fireworks with each other. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? It was!
We had a Girl Scouts troop and a Boy Scouts troop, and even a Boy Scouts camp on the Pine Ridge. What in the world else does a kid need? It was a wonderful life!
Girl Scouts was one of my fondest childhood memories. I remember getting to go to summer camp (Camp Sacajawea) on Casper Mountain one year. I got to ride on a bus up the mountain with a whole bunch of really nice bigger girls, singing old hippy songs all the way, and coolest of all, it was an over-nighter. We made ditty bags out of bandanas and tied them to a stick (I’ve still got one of the nicer ditty bags we were given – shown in the photo below). We filled them with snacks and water, and one of the days we used the ditty bag sticks as walking sticks and hiked to a really cool waterfall that flowed over a rock that we could walk behind (just like in the movie The Last of the Mohicans). That’s the way I remember it anyway! 🙂 I remember doing crafts and selling cookies. I remember one year being really ambitious to sell those cookies! I ❤ed Girl Scouts!
This is a throw back meal from when I was a Girl Scout at Camp Sacajawea. Very easy to make and I think it is delicious! Of course we made S’mores for dessert – I’m pretty sure that was another Girl Scouts invention too! 😉
This recipe feeds 4 to 6 people.
- Peel and chop several cloves of garlic. I did a whole bulb’s worth.
- Wash a small bag of yellow potatoes, and a small bag of carrots, peel the carrots and then slice both into bite-size pieces (figure on about 2 small potatoes and 1 whole large carrot per person)
- Peel a yellow onion, cut in half, and slice it into quarter inch slices
- Place all veggies in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzle generously with olive oil, toss to coat evenly, set aside
- Mix 2 lbs of hamburger with 2 packages of dry onion soup mix, and a small minced jalapeno, a little salt and pepper, and mix well, then form into patties
- Place a heaping ladle full of veggies into the center of a generous sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil
- Lay a hamburger patty on top of veggies
- Top with a spoonful of mushroom soup
- Bring both ends of foil up and fold together to seal well on top, and then do the same on both sides. Repeat making foil packets until all veggies and burger patties are used up.
- Preheat BBQ grill, or campfire (or 350 *F oven), and when coals are hot and gray lay the packets on a grate about 6 to 8 inches above them
- Let packets cook for 15 to 20 minutes and then carefully and gently flip and rearrange the packets so they can cook evenly on the other side for another 15 to 20 minutes.
- Open one packet and test the veggies for doneness
- When done, remove the packets and serve one packet per person.
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the way of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgement. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.”