Monday, January 24, 2011

More on Road Camp

Oh, the conveniences that we take for granted in our lifetime. Electricity for instance. A number of years ago our area had a very severe ice storm which knocked power lines down for many miles around. We were without electricity for six days. Fortunately, Ole has the foresight to be well prepared for living in a rural area in this part of the Upper Midwest. It can get mighty cold here, and without electricity in your house, it gets pretty miserable. The first thing you think of is, of course, no lights. But don’t forget – without electricity to run the pump in your well you have no water let alone HOT water, no heat, no TV or even radio unless you have a battery operated one. We happen to have an electric kitchen stove so I couldn’t even cook let alone run the microwave. But good old Ole was prepared with two big generators that he hooked up – big enough to run EVERYTHING!!

Now when I was a kid and we were living the life of the gypsies and moving from camp to camp, there was no electricity in these pastures that we camped in. The construction company did furnish a large generator that ran throughout the evening hours so you could have lights in your house after dark. But you better be in bed by midnight unless you wanted to sit in the dark. We had long, long extension cords that would run from our trailers to this big generator. If someone wanted to play a mean trick on you, they’d go unplug your cord from the generator and then you’d have to stumble around in the dark and try to plug it back in as there were no yard lights outside so you could see where you were going.

Big Brother had a pet crow one summer when we were “camping out.” We had been in one location where there were some large trees, one of which had a crow’s nest in it. For some reason, I don’t remember what it was, the mother crow had died and fallen out of the nest, leaving four baby crows hanging over the edges with their mouths gaping, crying for food. My brother and some of his buddies shinnied up the tree, took the crows out of the nest and each took one home. These crows were so small they didn’t even have feathers on yet – just bare skin. I remember them being extremely ugly. Well, Big Brother is a very determined person and was going to do everything possible to keep this baby crow alive. We had a dog at that time who ate canned dog food, so some of his dog food was confiscated to feed the baby crow, along with a variety of bugs, beetles and worms that Big Brother would go scrounging for during the day. And of course the crow, being so small, was hungry ALL the time, so Big Brother would be up several times during the night to feed this poor, squawking thing. Of the four crows that were taken from the nest, Big Brother’s was the only one that lived, and grew into a fine, feathered friend for quite a number of years.

Big Brother named him Smokey – and what a pest he was. My Mother would drape an old towel across the back of a chair and would allow the bird to come in the house for short periods of time if he would sit on the back of the chair. He would fly to the door and squawk when he wanted to go back out, so I don’t remember many “accidents” happening. But then I wasn’t the one that cleaned them up either. If he were left alone for any period of time things would disappear. Things like car keys, buttons, pens, coins, anything shiny that was left laying around would disappear instantly. Once a week my Mother would clean behind the davenport and there – lo and behold – would be all of Smokey’s treasures. He became a very “cocky” bird, which led to his comeuppance. One day he was dive-bombing one of the local dogs and the dog snapped at him as he flew overhead – and that was the end of Smokey.

Here’s a shot of what “road camp” looked like – that’s our trailer second from the right. And it must have been a Saturday afternoon when we were headed for town to buy groceries. That’s me running toward the car with my Dad getting in on the other side. Note the long blonde Shirley Temple curls? Oh, how I hated those things. My mother would make these ringlets every morning, and when I was old enough to go to school I would go immediately to the bathroom and brush them all out. I wanted straight hair like the other girls.

That's it for today, Bloggers. I'll see what I can dream up for tomorrow. Right now I have to get after all those dust bunnies that are hiding in the corners.
Love Lena

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