Testing concluded, we followed the teacher eastward on the road that divided Rakow Lake. The birds and wildlife provided musical cacophony. Vacant buildings stood about a quarter mile east of the lake in a peaceful grove of trees, where we spread a blanket, and proceeded to enjoy a picnic.
Once, I cracked everybody up with the request to, “Please pass the mouse turd.” No doubt, the other students took my faux päs to their dinner tables that night, and my brothers embarrassed me again in front of our parents by asking for the mustard, using our family mispronunciation.
Plum blossoms perfumed the air on nice spring days. After school, we walked to see how far we could get before Mom came for us. We knew better than to complain about distance around Dad. He told infamous tales of hitching up a horse to a buggy, which made us mentally roll our eyes. I think the farthest we ever made it was three-quarter mile from home, never as far as our farm’s north shelterbelt.
Around the third week of May we held a school picnic, as American as apple pie. Our mothers loaded the tables with fried chicken, deviled eggs, potato salad, pickles, cakes, pies, Jell-O salads, and whatever specialty each mom contributed. My favorite dessert was Mom’s Black Magic chocolate cake with coffee frosting. We played ball, ran, and laughed until we were hungry again. Then we gorged ourselves through triple-decker ice-cream-cone-eating contests. The ice cream came in two-gallon barrels, wrapped in insulated canvas to prevent melting.
At age 13 in April of my eighth grade year, I began my first travel diary of a trip to Lincoln. During a visit to the police station, we toured the show room, and viewed “prisoners.” Next we went to the State Historical Society building and Morrill Hall on UNL campus. We shopped at Golds Department Store and capped the day with the movie “Pinnochio.” Up the next morning at 4:30, we toured the Lincoln Journal, and then the Capitol building. Dinner at the Air Base just west of Lincoln finalized our adventure. We headed home.
Come September, my next adventure would be high school in Neligh.
Did you have a memorable field trip before high school?