Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pioneer Light



Turns out I am not pioneer material.  This comes as a bit of a surprise to me.   I had a tough childhood.  It involved cold (icicles on the inside of my bedroom window, cold.)   Hunger.  OK hunger is a bit of a stretch but we often ate things like cauliflower cheese and kidney pie which I *chose* not to eat in a five year old, mouth clamped shut kind of way.  Which meant I went hungry.
Teachers were mean, violent even.  Crying was for the weak and PDA's even between parents and children were not the done thing.

What has this got to do with being a pioneer?  Let me apprise you.  This past week I chaperoned 19 fourth graders to the California Gold Country.  We went to an original mining town (now a State Park) where you can live as if in the 1840's.  We went fully bloomered and bonneted.  The boys got to wear Levi's - no fair - but perfectly authentic.

In our first few hours there, we made stools so we'd have something to sit on and lanterns and candles so we'd have light.  We cooked all food over open fires using dutch ovens.  Our one cheat (aside from the modern horse power that got us there) was that we had a tap in the camp site.  Although a well with pump was not unheard of in those days, it is more likely that in this setting they went down to the creek with buckets for their water supply.

One more 21st century break I got was that, as my sister pointed out, in 1849 all nineteen kids would have been mine.  Funny girl my sister.

It was exhausting. We rose at 5am to get the fire going.  That was most definitely a royal 'we.'  I rose at 6am when the fire was already wonderfully warm.  I didn't sit again until 9.30pm when 'sitting' meant falling face first into my bed.  If any of my fellow chaperones read this ignore their comments about my private tent and foam mattress.  It's  *possibly*  a truth but I don't see how it serves this story.

It was hard y'all.  It surprised me.  I thought I was tough.  I have camped many times and yes, car camping totally counts.  I think that in the 1840's I might have only lasted one month.

I blame California, with it's Starbucks and spa's.  I may have become soft.  I needed three days before my legs didn't ache every step I took.  I had to take a three hour nap on the fourth day back because I just wasn't caught up. I did have seventeen mosquito bites so I may pitch the 'histamine overload' defense as part of my patheticness but it's possible I'm just not the tough old bird I thought that I was.
Perhaps I should sign up for those Iron Grrrl type events and get myself back to Scottish level tough - food for thought but for now I must go, I'm late for a pedicure.....






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