Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yellowstone, Again

When I was a little girl we went to Yellowstone National Park every other year. We were a typical middle middle class family...no fancy camps or vacations to exotic tropical isles for us, no trips to Europe. Vacations meant camping, almost always always tent camping. Heavy canvas tents that smelled like...well, like canvas and a bit of mold and dust.

Dad got off work every day at 5 pm and was home by 5:25. We sat down to eat at 5:30 on the dot. 50 weeks a year, year in and year out. But one Friday night a year my Dad would get home at 5:25 pm, change his clothes and we'd get in the already packed car and off we'd go on vacation. Mom had sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper and a thermos filled with coffee. The children had already been fed. For the next day and a half our car only stopped for two things....gasoline and coffee. Mom drove when Dad was too tired and it seemed forever and yet just a couple of hours and we'd arrive at Fishing Bridge Campground at Yellowstone National Park. Mom had packed boxes with canned chili and pork & beans, Bisquick, powdered milk (yuck!), those tiny cereal boxes, packages of pudding mix, peanut butter & bread.

After the tent was set up Dad's first order of business was to get the fishing gear out and high tail it down to the lake with at least a couple of the kids so he could catch his limit (and ours!) of rainbow trout before dinner. My mom had stayed back at camp and set up the cooking and cleaning stations. I also remember my mom always on that first day painted her beautiful long fingernails with bright red polish. Years later she told me it was so she couldn't see the dirt under her nails!

We usually went with another family or two. The Meyers, the McNally cousins, the Blisses, the Kirkpatricks are some I remember. The women would play cards all day, wearing brightly colored scarves around their pin curled hair during the days. The men would fish and we children pretty much ran free. It was a much safer and innocent time. We at trout for dinner. We ate trout for lunch. And in the morning we ate left-over trout flaked & mixed with mashed potatoes, formed into patties. Mom made pudding for dessert (it was a healthy dessert!). Two or three times we'd venture to the grocery store for supplies and the children could pick out a Popsicle.

About mid-way into our two week vacation it was time to hit the showers. We all swam in the lake every day and didn't understand why we needed a shower, but our moms would insist. I remember having to wash our hair, get our ears and feet inspected to make sure we did a good job. We'd then walk out into the dusty dirt in our flip flops....instantly brown feet! In later years I can also remember wanting to take a shower every night but since the showers cost $1 I had to wait.

Every year we went we had our family picture taken in front of the Old Faithful Geyser sign. You can see my brothers and I grow up according to the signs. L-R brother Pat, Mom, Denny, Dad and me. I think I'm 8 years old so this would be summer of 1960.

In 1986 Mom & Dad, my brothers, their wives & children and Mr. Scottie Dog and our girls made the trek again to Yellowstone for the 1st McNally Yellowstone Reunion. The 2nd McNally Yellowstone Reunion will take place this summer. My dad was really looking forward to sitting around the campfire and telling and retelling all the family stories. We're going to do it again.....and I think Dad will be there too. Oh, and we'll be sure to take more pictures in front of the Old Faithful sign.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sydney's Debut

Sydney had her 5th birthday last month and Auntie Beka & Uncle Jason sent her an accordion. For those who know...it is a Honer and they make wonderful accordions. The first time Sydney showed me her instrument she asked which button she should push to make it play Happy Birthday since Grandpa's accordion always plays that on special days.

Last night was the monthly concert/dance for the Humboldt Accordionaires and Sydney was ready to go with her accordion. While Grandpa and the other 20+ musicians set up, Sydney set up her snazzy red accordion right next to Grandpa. Mr. Scottie Dog is sporting a new-to-him accordion himself these days. The first couple of songs, Sydney sat next to me in the back of the hall (I was binding a couple of quilts) "waiting" a bit to play. She danced a couple of numbers with Caleb...her "older beau." Caleb just turned 9. Then Sydney decided she was ready for her musical debut......She wandered up front, stood by Grandpa and proceeded to "play" with the big boys and girls.

They were quite understanding and announced over the loudspeakers that Sydney would be joining the group. So she pulled and pushed the "squeeze box" and pushed a few of the buttons. Doesn't she look happy? Pretty soon Grandpa is going to give her lessons.

After she played a few numbers they asked the 100 or so gathered to give a round of applause to the littlest Accordionaire.
One of the songs that is played nearly every month is When the Saints Go Marching In and a bunch of ladies hand out feather boas and umbrellas for the Cakewalk. Sydney and Caleb are always in the parade...he brings his own umbrella.

Looks like fun, doesn't it.