Curt's Crazy Tales

You Didn't Really Do That, Did You?

March 4, 2018
by Curt Swisher
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Confession–I Stole Something–You Didn’t Really Do That, Did You?

One year my wife and I were traveling from Rockford, Illinois (near the Wisconsin border) to the Kansas City area via St. Louis. A road we have traveled many times, so many times that we knew every rest stop, and convenience store along the way. Being the fact that I have an auto mechanics background, I like to travel with things that might be needed in almost any mechanical emergency. Doesn’t everyone?

This particular trip went fine on our way to Kansas City, during daylight hours. But the way back was a whole different story. The first part of the trip back, from Kansas City started out just fine, and also was in day light. However by Columbia, Missouri, which was half way across the state of Missouri, it had got dark, requiring lights. I began to notice that my lights were getting a little on the dim side. The further I went the dimmer they got. Now this was before we had cell phones, so there was no easy way to call for help if needed.

At first I had not realized that I really had a problem, I just thought my headlights just needed a good cleaning, and figured I would do so the next time we stopped at a convenience store. But finally I decided that I did not have enough charge in the battery to sustain the lights and engine. So what to do?

We had passed one of the rest stops several miles back, and I quickly calculated that it was closer to go back to that rest stop than it was to go on to the next convenience store. I used one of those “emergency crossovers”, (it was an emergency—wasn’t it?) and proceeded back the way we had just came. I saw the rest stop, now on the wrong side of the interstate, and then looked for the next “emergency crossover”. I was very concerned that I would even be able to make the crossover, let alone get to the rest stop, as my lights were so dim that I virtually could not see at all.

When I got to the 2nd crossover, there were several “highway constructions vehicles” parked along the edge in the middle of the crossover. That’s when I made the decision that I am confessing too. It’s in the dead of night. No cell phone. Not sure if I can make it to the rest stop which is less than a mile away, and there were construction vehicles right there.

What do construction vehicles have that I needed? Battery power! And being a good mechanic, I carried with me jumper cables. So I stopped next to the vehicles (they had exposed batteries) and I hooked up my cables to the vehicles, and set back in the car and waited, hoping that no highway patrol officer would come by, since in my mind, I had no authorization to use that vehicle for the purpose of charging up my battery.

Fearful of getting caught, I did not stay long, since I knew that the rest stop was less than a mile away. When I felt I had gained enough charge to make it there, I disconnected the cables and went on my way, thankful that I had not been caught, and the construction crew would have been none the wiser, as I didn’t use very much of their “battery power.”

So when I got to the rest stop, I got out my trusty tools, and disconnected my battery, and took it in to the restroom. Oh, by the way, being a good mechanic, I also carried a battery charger with me. So inside the restroom I set my battery on the sink, and plugged in the charger and waited. This time I let the battery get all the way charged up before I left. Again, I had not been caught, and eastward bound we went. By then I knew for sure, that my alternator had quit working and that getting home without replacing it was not an option.

We made it to the next rest stop, and again I disconnected my battery, went into the restroom, and started charging it up. This time I was not so lucky. The rest stop cleaning crew showed up, and had a fit because as one crew member said, “you are not allowed to charge your battery up in these restrooms.” So I put the battery back in the car and went on down the road, confident that it had got enough charge to get me to the next location, which was a convenience store in Lake St. Louis, a St. Louis suburb. This time I asked the store employees if I could use one of the outside outlets to charge my battery. They were kind enough to do so, and while it was charging, I used their phone directory to locate a place to get my alternator replaced.

I don’t remember just were the Sears Auto Shop was, but I headed there as I had a Sears charge card, and pulled into their lot, up next to the auto shop entrance (as it was beginning to get daylight) and waited for them to open up.

Under the circumstances, that got me right in and replaced my alternator, and we finished the last half of the trip with no more problems.

So there you have it, I stole some electricity from a highway construction vehicle, and out of a roadway rest stop restroom (or two), but I made it just over two hundred miles, at night, with no working alternator. Not one of my more pleasant traveling memories.

 

February 5, 2018
by Curt Swisher
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Fraudulent Check–You Really Didn’t Do That Did You?

I went to high school in a very small town. There was a small family owned restaurant, local small town bank (no large chain banking), a grain elevator, one church as I remember, and maybe another business or two that I have forgotten about. The high school itself had only a total of 125 students from that town, a couple of neighboring communities, and a large area of the county farming community. Everyone knew everyone, and for good or bad, everyone knew everything you did or did not do.

In class, I excelled in bookkeeping, along with one of my classmates. In fact it came so easily, that we were extremely bored with the daily assignments.

Our teacher recognized that problem and came up with a unique way to address it. It seems that for the next class year, they would be using a new bookkeeping text and workbook.

In case you are not aware of it, anytime a new text book/workbook is introduced, it is not uncommon to find mistakes in them. So to give us a “challenge”, our teacher asked the two of us to work through the NEW workbook assignments, looking for any mistakes, and make the corrections necessary, so the teacher would not have to do it himself before the next school year. In addition, we still had to do the regular assignments in the current workbook. For me this was the kind of challenge that I relished.

As far as the rest of my classmates, it was well known what our teacher had assigned us to do, and therefore what happened next surprised them and most likely will surprise you too.

Now for a little banking history lesson—in today’s modern technological banking system, those who still use paper checks will recognize those digital banking codes printed on the bottom of the checks. The first is the bank routing number, which identifies the unique name for the bank where your money is deposited. The next number is your own personal account number at that bank. This served a two-fold purpose. It made transactions much easier to mechanically process, and it insured that the writer of the check really did have an account with that bank.

Back in the 1960’s, when I was in high school, those digital codes were not on the checks. There was such a thing as a “counter” check, found appropriately, on the counter of most local businesses. The only identifying banking information was the name of the bank that was printed on the pad of the counter checks. Other than the lack of those digital numbers, the counter checks were very similar to today’s checks.

One day, during bookkeeping class, I was informed I had a phone call in the school office. I left class, took the phone call, and when I returned to class, the instructor wanted to know what the phone call was that was so important to interrupt his class.

His response to me after I told him was “You didn’t really do that did you?”

You see I used to leave school a lot at lunch time and walk the couple blocks to the local restaurant, order a burger meal there. Many students would do the same. When finished I would grab a counter check from the pad on the counter and fill it out, sign it, and pay for my meal that way. I did have my own checking account, but not in the local bank. I did this often enough that no one was worried when I would mark out the name of the bank on the counter check, and just write in the name of the bank I used. No problem, I did it fairly often and it was always honored.

The problem came the day I FORGOT to mark out the name of the bank on the counter check.

Of course it went to the local bank, not mine, and of course I had no account there. Therefore that was a fraudulent check.

That is when I got the phone call at school, from the local bank, asking me if I had intended to change the name of the bank. Remember, this is a small town who knew everything that everyone did.

I apologized profusely and told them that I had forgotten to mark out their banks name, putting in my own. The banker said he thought that was what happened and so he changed the name for me and sent it on to the correct bank.

So now you know why my teacher said to me, (too loudly in my opinion), and therefore to the entire bookkeeping class—You really Didn’t Do That Did You?      YES I DID!

January 25, 2018
by Curt Swisher
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You Rascal—You Really Didn’t Do That Did You?

In the summer between my 4th and 5th grade, we moved back to the farm and I had the opportunity to pick out a puppy from a local family who raised rat terriers. I picked out the most energetic one in the litter and on the way home he was a real rascal—climbing all over the back seat, and me, and my sister. He just would not stay put in the box we put on the floor for him.

Hence I named him “Rascal”.

He was my constant companion until I left for college. We did everything together. We hunted together, worked the fields, clearing weeds from the rows of corn and milo, and many other things—together. And we played together.

He was a very typical rat terrier. He loved to dig holes, loved to chase mice, and loved to snoop into anywhere he could stick his little head.

In every aspect he lived up to his name of “Rascal”. So this story is not about what I did, but what “Rascal” did, being a typical rascal.

Since it is winter here now, and we just went thru a stretch of some really cold days, I remembered what it was like in the winter on the farm while I was growing up. My dad would be the first to go out and start the morning chores, milking the cows etc. Then my mom and I would go out and start doing each of our chores.

In the winter it was my responsibility to take an axe and break up the ice in our stock tank so the cattle could have some water to drink. “Rascal” loved to help with this chore. As we approached the stock tank, he would make a mad dash, leap up on the ice, and slide to the other end. He loved doing that, every single day. If we would have had a pond I am sure he would have been skating all over it.

On one particular morning I am not sure if I was running behind, or my dad was ahead of schedule, but when “Rascal” made his leap to slide on the ice, he (and I) found out that dad had already chopped the ice. Can you imagine just how fast he got out of that stock tank?

It was about as fast I have ever seen him move, and I have seen him move pretty fast chasing mice.

Out of the tank he went, shook off the water, and gave me the funniest look I had seen in a while. Obviously he was asking me, with that look, “What just happened to the ice?”

So—he really didn’t do that—did he? Yes he did, and I couldn’t help it, I rolled in laughter. I wonder if anyone reading this is rolling in laughter right now too.

January 8, 2018
by Curt Swisher
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Everyone Knew Me as the Guy the Professor Always Picked On–Really!

When I was a college junior, I took a basic freshman level biology class. Technically I should not have been allowed to do so, but I always liked to buck the system, and so I got permission from the dean to do so when I enrolled for the fall semester back in the spring. (There’s a story to tell about that, but that one will have to wait.)

Freshman level biology classes usually had about 300 students in the lecture part of the class, and many smaller lab classes with about 15 to 20 students each. It was rare if anyone actually knew your name in the lecture class.

I liked to sit on the very back row, and I sat between two friends of mine, who happened to be girls. My two friends were constantly passing notes back and forth, via me (not my idea) and invariably as soon as they did, the professor would look directly at me and ask me a question. This didn’t happen once or twice, but sometimes several times a day. No matter how hard I tried to get my friends to stop passing notes, they just kept doing so, and the professor kept asking me questions—never the girls. That didn’t seem, very fair to me, but that was the truth.

As I walked around the campus, and spotted someone who was also in that biology class, I liked to stop and talk about the lectures. I always got the same response—“you’re the guy that the professor always picks on.” So one day a couple of weeks into the class I spotted the professor in the hallway, and I decided to ask him why he always picked on me.

OK, now it’s time to fess up and tell you the other half of the story—the “you didn’t really do that did you?” thing. You see when I enrolled in class; I did not have a serious girlfriend. But during the summer I met this girl, and by the time class started in the fall, I was not only dating her, but actually spending almost all of my spare time with her and we were very serious.

Most of that time was spent with her in her office as she was a lab assistant—for the professor of the biology class I was enrolled in.

What the professor told me when I asked him why he picked on me, was that—“if I was going to date one of his lab instructors, then by golly he was going to make sure I learned biology.” By the way, I wasn’t in her lab; I had as a lab instructor one of the other graduate students.

So now you know why everyone knew me as the guy the professor always picked on. Oh—one more thing—six months later I married her, and the person who gave her away at our wedding was her graduate student adviser—the professor who always picked on me.

July 24, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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Arrest That Man!—You Didn’t Say That, Did You?

I was on the administrative staff of my dream job. One of my co-workers, named Melvin, was a Department Director, and we became good friends.

He physically was very similar to me, except he was 6 foot tall, and I was only 5 foot 8 inches. We both had booming voices that could be heard throughout the office, and we both had to work constantly to keep our voices low, especially if we were in a very sensitive private conversation.

He was an ex-marine, and looked and sounded tough, but I knew he was just a big teddy bear.

Life in our office could be rather stressful as our clients were always in a state of crisis. That meant our counselors could easily be overwhelmed with the stress. Both myself, and Melvin, tried to liven things up, and keep people laughing, to help relieve the stress. Because of that, the two of us were always playing practical jokes.

This was easy for us to do, as we both “thought alike”, “acted alike”, “sounded alike”, and could finish each other’s sentences. Our boss used to claim that the two of us were twins separated by birth. However, there was one problem with that. He is black and I am white. But even so, there seemed to be a lot of truth to the idea of us being twins separated by birth.

We even managed to have similar injuries in relatively the same time span. After one such injury to my leg, I had to go to physical therapy at a local clinic. Melvin had also injured his leg and was undergoing physical therapy too. What we didn’t know, was that we were both going to the same clinic.

One day as I was leaving the clinic, just exiting the main lobby doors, I spotted Melvin crossing the drop off drive on his way into the clinic.

Just then a local city policeman was arriving on foot at the main lobby doors. Simultaneously Melvin and I pointed at each other and exclaimed “arrest that man!” The startled policeman stopped in his tracks, looked at each of us, and just shook his head in unbelief, as we kept walking towards each other.

I wonder what the policeman really thought about the two of us. I wonder if he mumbled to himself “You didn’t really say that did you?”

July 14, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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My Tongue Got Stuck—Really? You Didn’t Do That, Did You?

When I worked as a camp superintendent, my responsibilities were quite varied. One of which was maintaining the camp swimming pool.

Now I am a decent swimmer, when on the surface that is. But I have no leg strength for diving. My strength was with my arms. I could swim fairly long distances, several laps up and down the swimming pool, with not much effort, but don’t ask me to dive to the bottom of a swimming pool. That would be a huge problem.

So, when a bunch of leaves piled up at the bottom of the deep end, I was in trouble. How could I get those leaves out of the pool? I did not have a long handled dipper that I could use to scoop up the leaves.

I tried several times to swim to the bottom and scoop up the leaves. Every time I reached the bottom, and I stopped using my hand to get there, so I could grab the leaves, I would immediately bob right back to the surface. My legs were just not strong enough to keep me down there.

Being the “creative” person I am, I decided to tie a rope onto a concrete block, and throw it to the bottom of the deep end. That way, I reasoned, I could swim to the bottom, hold onto the rope with one hand and gather the leaves with the other hand. Sounds good doesn’t it?

However, when I got to the bottom and started trying to scoop up the leaves, I ran short of breath, and had to surface. So I tried taking several deep breaths before trying again, hoping that I could then hold my breath longer. Didn’t work. Not one to give up, I tried various ways with no success.

Finally, I decided that I needed a way to breathe while down there. I never had been snorkeling before, but it seemed like that might be the solution.

So I gathered up one of the garden hoses that I had plenty of, and brought it to the pool. I tied one end onto the fence surrounding the pool and stuck the other end in my mouth, and practiced breathing through the hose. GREAT, it works, so now it’s just a matter of swimming to the bottom, with a hose in my mouth.

I jumped into the pool, and put the hose in my mouth and proceeded to dive to the bottom. Immediately after going under the surface, my tongue “jumped into the hose” and stuck there. I had to surface again.

Confused, I thought I just needed to control my tongue better. Surely with a little effort, I could keep my tongue in my mouth, and out of the hose. Made sense to me,

So I tried again, jumped into the pool, put the hose in my mouth, and CONCENTRATED on not allowing my tongue to stick into the hose. Down I went, and immediately my tongue “jumped into the hose” and stuck there.

Finally it dawned on me that the pressure on my body a short distance under the water was more than the air pressure about water, and there was no way I was going to be able to overcome that difference in pressure. There was no way to keep my tongue from getting stuck in the hose. Now I know the difference between snorkeling, and diving with air tanks.

That really did happen.

I don’t remember how I finally got the leaves out of the pool, but it was not by me going to the bottom to remove them.

July 7, 2017
by Curt Swisher
1 Comment

Fixing a Meal for My Kids—You Didn’t Really Do That, Did You?

When my wife left for a weekend conference, with our baby in tow, I was left home to baby sit for our oldest three children. A two year old, a four year old, and a five year old.

I wanted to make sure that they had an enjoyable time, which included lots of fun games etc. But when it came to meal time, I was really wondering what I would fix them that they all would like.

I love to cook, and I am a very creative cook. Most of the time, my meals that I create are “more normal.” But occasionally I get a wild idea.

This was one of the times I had a wild idea.

When asked what I was going to make them, my response was—it’s a surprise.

So what was in my surprise? Well here is the recipe. Maybe you will want to try it. HaHa!

Step one: Boil some elbow macaroni.

Step two: Add some stewed tomatoes.

Step three: Spit some hotdogs almost all the way through.

Step four: Stuff the hotdogs with peanut butter.

Step five: Mix altogether, and simmer awhile until the tomatoes etc . are hot.

Step six: Make a bowl of popcorn, and dump it all on top of the Macaroni, stewed tomato, and hotdog/peanut butter mixture.

When the meal is ready and your kids ask what you made them,

 –tell them it’s called POPCORN SURPRISE.

They loved it.

When my wife came home and asked them what they had to eat, they all chimed in and said Popcorn Surprise. When she asked what was in it, they told her. I don’t think she really believed what they were telling her, as she turned to me and asked, what was REALLY in it. I told her, “exactly what they described” She couldn’t believe it.

By the way, they asked for her to make it many times over the next year or so. I don’t think they have ever forgotten about Dad making them Popcorn Surprise.

July 1, 2017
by Curt Swisher
1 Comment

Packing For a Move–Did You Forget Anything?

Now I am sure anyone reading this can relate to how much effort goes into packing your belongings up to move to a new home. It’s not an easy process. Making sure you have not missed something is very important.

I have become somewhat of an “expert” in packing for a move. My wife and I moved a total of 16 times in our first 15 years of marriage. That is an average of more than one move per year.

Our first move (to our very first home) was simple. We just stuffed everything in the car. It was only a temporary home at a camp ground, where I knew that at the end of the summer we would move again. So we even had a few items that we left behind, to retrieve at the end of the summer, when we moved again.

By the time we made that “end of the summer move”, we used a small pull behind trailer, (U-Haul style.)

Most of our moves involved renting a large truck, and towing our car behind. Only one time did we use professional movers; my company paid for that move.

One move from a small town, to a rural location just a few miles outside of town, was done by friends from our church, using their farm trucks. My wife was teaching high school at the time. Knowing that our friends would do all the work, we did not do “any” advanced packing. She left for school in the morning, from one home, and arrived at our new home that evening.  No packing, meant “no” plan, as to where things would wind up in the new home. That was a very interesting move, trying to find things after the move.

Finally after 16 moves in 15 years, we settled in to stay, at least temporarily. We told our kids, this would only be a temporary home, as we were going to move again as soon as we found a more appropriate home. We stayed “temporarily” in that home for eleven years.

Finally, as our last daughter went off to college, we packed another truck and moved again. Our oldest daughter came home from college, and seeing the moving truck, made the comment “you really are moving this time”, since we had be saying we would, for eleven years.

By the time we made our last move, to our current home (the 20th one) we again hired a moving company. Even after getting rid of as much “stuff” as we could, we still used two full sized moving trucks.

So like I said in the first paragraph, I have become rather an expert on packing for a move. However, here is where you might ask the question “You didn’t really do that, did you?”

This move was from Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, to our new home in Oak Grove, Missouri—a  little over 600 miles. This move was because my boss was transferring me to a different office. We had the largest U-Haul truck we could get, chained a couple items on the back end of the truck, and stuffed our car, and towed it behind the truck. By that time our four kids were 14, 12, 10, and 8. All four of them and both of us traveled the entire trip inside the cab of that U-Haul.

If we forgot anything, there was no going back. So I was extra careful to not forget anything. In those days, if you are going to tow a vehicle, you had to disconnect the drive shaft. I crawled under the car, un-hooked the drive shaft, and using baling wire, tied it up to make the 600 plus mile trip.

Just before we arrived at our new home, I made a stop at my company’s office, to let my boss know we had arrived—only 10 miles to go to our new home.

The first words from his mouth were, “Did You FORGET something?” Puzzled, I asked, what did I forget? He informed me that my wife’s aunt, who lived directly across the street from us in Aurora, had found the drive shaft of my car laying on the street where I had carefully tied it up under the car—so much for double checking before we pulled away from that home. He loaned me his car, while we had to wait another day or so for the drive shaft to arrive by UPS.

How EMBARRASSING, for an “expert” packer.

Stay tuned for more Crazy Tales of those 20 moves, you will laugh out loud at them.

 

 

June 23, 2017
by Curt Swisher
1 Comment

When You Bargain With God–You Didn’t Do That, Did You?

This blog is a little different than the others. It’s not one of those “rolling in laughter” ones, but it definitely has a point, and fits into the category of “You Didn’t Do That, Did You.”

My guess is that most of you can recall a time in your life when you bargained with God. I would venture to say it didn’t turn out very well. In fact, for me I don’t think I have ever come out on top when I tried to bargain with God.

If you read my “about” page, you will know that I was saved in college. Within a year, God had clearly called me into ministry. I did like I was told by others in ministry (not always the best advice). They told me to start out supplying in pulpits, then become a youth minister, and then become a Pastor. That was not what God had in mind for me. I did spend a few years supplying pulpits.

Several years later, through a series of events in my church, God was clearing telling me He wanted me to go to Seminary. I was more than willing to do so, as I do believe in obeying when God directs you to do something.

However—here is the rest of the story.

At that stage in life I was married, and had a one year old, three year old, and five year old, and we planned to have a fourth child within the year; and I had a “decent” job that paid reasonably good. But, being a “responsible” parent, I did not think I could afford to go to seminary, and provide for my family on the income I had.

So I put in my request to God. Actually it was me trying to bargain with God. I TOLD him that I would go to seminary IF he provided me with a new job that paid TWICE what I was earning. I thought at the time, that was a “reasonable” demand.

It was in the late spring, and I figured I would start seminary with the fall semester. I figured that would give adequate time for God to provide a job that paid twice what I was making. I proceeded to look for jobs, the normal way, with no luck. As the deadline was approaching that I would need to enroll, I still had no idea what job would be instore for me. I was getting frustrated, as I knew God wanted me to go to seminary, which I was agreeing to do, only on my terms. NOT a good way to approach things.

Finally, it was the Friday before class was to start, and I had a “heart to heart” talk with God. It was clear to me that I needed to TRUST God that he would supply my needs, not my wants, and go to seminary now. So that is what I did. I informed my boss (who knew I was thinking about seminary) that, that day would be my last, as I was starting seminary on Monday.

Since I had been waiting for God to provide my idea of a “perfect” job, before I made a commitment, I had not saved any money back. Not a responsible thing to do. I know, but that’s what I did. Monday morning I drove the 50 miles to seminary, finished enrolling, somehow was able to buy the books with no money, and started class.

Approximately two weeks passed as I went the 100 mile round trip each day to class, still wondering what job I would find. I had applied multiple places, but had heard nothing from any of them.

So finally I was virtually out of funds. I went to seminary that day, with not enough gas in the tank to make the round trip back home. I can remember praying in between classes each hour, asking God if this was going to be my last day in seminary. There was no bargaining this time—just me asking God how I was going to be able to continue, if that is what he wanted me to do. I was truly at the end of my “human” rope. The only thing left to do was trust God that He would supply.

Just before my last class of the day, I heard the Public Address announcement telling me I needed to call home. I found a phone (before cell phones) and made the call. My wife informed me that I had a job interview, and that I would have just enough time to get there, if I left immediately after my last class. I was so excited.

After class I hopped into the car and started out another 50 miles, but not in the direction of home. Then I looked down at my gas gauge, and it said “empty.” As a side note, my gas gauge always worked perfectly, so if it said empty, it was truly right on empty. There was no time to go back and ask someone for some money for gas, so I did what I “should” do when I have a need—I prayed that God would stretch the gas out to allow me to get to that interview.

As I drove, the gas gauge literally started rising off of empty. I do believe in miracles, and I was seeing one right then. I made it to the job interview in time, and before it was over, I was offered a job that would be full time, and at a time that I would be able to go to seminary full time. God does provide.

But I still had another 35 miles to go to get home. Looked at my gas gauge and sure enough there was enough gas to make it. So by the time I got home, I had traveled a total of 75 miles on an “empty” gas tank.

When I arrived home, my wife told me that our church had brought a bag of groceries to us that would tide us over a couple weeks and enough cash to fill my gas tank. My first pay check would be in two weeks.

Isn’t God amazing? And oh—by the way, the job I got, paid me exactly TWICE what I had been making.

The point of my story—NEVER bargain with God—you will not win. However, trust God, He WILL supply your needs, and if He asks you to do something, OBEY without strings. You will not regret it.

 

 

June 20, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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Collecting Geodes–How to Not Use Your Brain

My wife and I love rocks. We used to collect rocks. Since both of us love science, we collected rocks that had some scientific significance (at least to us.)

Throughout our married life, we loved tent camping. Every year for our vacation, we would go tent camping. I don’t think we ever stayed in a motel while on vacation.

One year, when our four kids were in the age range of 8 to 14, as I remember, we decided to go to Geode State Park at Keokuk, Iowa, just across the border from both Missouri and Illinois.

Geode State Park was named after the fact that there was an abundance of geodes in the state park, at least when the park was named. Over the years so many had collected the geodes, that you no longer could find a geode in the state park and it was then illegal to take one from there, if you actually found one.

If you don’t know what a geode is, it is a rock, kind of a very ugly rock, which on the surface is so plain that no one would want it. Except that when you break one open, you find a beautiful set of crystals lining the hollow interior. I’m sure you seen these in museums, rock shops, and other specialty shops that sell items that most people would love to display prominently. Not all geodes form beautiful interiors. Some just barely have a hollow area, but you must collect and open a lot, to find the very pretty ones.

Since we could not legally collect geodes from the park, we decided to go to the back roads near the park and look for old dry creek beds, full of rocks, to hunt for some. I was also a Boy Scout leader and had a very nice back pack with the full frame used for hiking with all your equipment on you back. Not the simple little back packs used for book bags these days.

So we set off down an old creek bed, with all four kids and my wife, each collecting rocks. Now here is where the BRAIN did not kick into gear. As soon as we set out, one of the kids grabbed a rock and put it in my empty back pack. Then another, and another, and many more as we walked the old creek bed.

When my back pack was full to the brim, I realized that we had made an HUGE mistake. We should have walked in the approximately mile and a half that we had gone. THEN started collecting rocks on our way back. But NO, we didn’t do it that way. As near as I can estimate, when the return hike back to the beginning was done, I had well over 100 pounds of rocks in my back pack. Talk about being exhausted.

Moral of the story—if you are going to collect rocks on a hike. Don’t start collecting until you have gone as far as you intend on going. THEN start collecting on your return trip.

When we were done, and had opened the geodes, we did find some very pretty ones that I still have on display. NOTE: Over the years we have moved a lot and every time we moved, our friends that helped us always wanted to know why we had so many boxes labeled “rocks.” They always asked if there were really rocks in those boxes, and we had to say, yes they are really full of rocks.