Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-3-09 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-3-09

As a kid, I enjoyed 4-H summer camps about as much as anything in my childhood. I’ll bet the same holds true for 4-H club members today.

Well, 4-H’ers across rural America have been attending camps for the past month or so, and I’m sure many of them brought home funny stories of what happened to them at camp.

Recently, I heard about a 4-H camp “funny” that I think you’ll enjoy. It happened more than 25 years ago and I heard it from ol’ Avery Ware, an extension service ag agent and 4-H camp adult supervisor for many years.

This story happened at Rock Springs Ranch, the Kansas state 4-H camp south of Junction City. The principal character in this story is a big, good-natured, jolly oaf of a farm kid – and a senior 4-H member – from western Kansas whose job wuz counselor for younger 4-H’ers attending camp.

He wuz a friendly kid – and what we’d call “a bit nerdy” today – whose happy outlook on life made him simply gravitate to the youngest group of boy 4-H’ers attending camp. Now, as their camp counselor, the big kid’s job wuz to look after the leadership and well-being of his young charges, including sleeping in the cabin with them at night.

All throughout the camp, the counselor and his happy campers marched in line around the camp. The kids followed him like he wuz a Pied Piper. The youngsters loved their counselor and he returned their affection.

Well, on the final evening of camp, the 40 or so teenaged counselors had their own pizza, soft drink, music and dance party at the well-lighted tennis courts at Rock Springs. During the party, adult extension agents and parents took over the counselors’ jobs of maintaining order in the cabins.

The counselor party ran a couple of hours and everyone ate and drank their fill and finally it came time to literally turn off the lights on the party. The counselors went back to their cabins with the 4-H’ers under their care and guidance.

Avery says the counselors picked up the trash and then he switched off the tennis courts lights and everyone left – well, almost everyone.

It seems the principal of our story got a little too comfortable after all that pizza and, unnoticed by anyone, went to sleep leaned up against the tennis court fence and everyone left him there asleep in the dark.

Come morning, the youngest group of campers breathlessly came to breakfast and wondered aloud to Avery, “What did you do with our counselor? He didn’t come back to our cabin from your meeting last night!”

Just as Avery began to question them about their absent counselor, the object of their concern walked into breakfast, looking thoroughly rumpled and disheveled.

When Avery asked him what happened, the big ol’ kid grinned his silly grin and sheepishly reported that he’d gone to sleep during the party and didn’t wake up until a few minutes ago.

But the funniest part of the story happened after breakfast and the counselor had spent some final minutes in the cabin with his campers before everyone headed home.

The big kid told his campers that he’d gone to sleep at the party, and that he didn’t come back to their cabin because a big, ol’ coyote had curled up in his lap and he wuz afraid to disturb it until it woke up at dawn and left at its own accord.

I have no idea where that now-40-something counselor is today, but I’ll bet he’s a B.S.’er of the first rank who either works with kids or is a salesman.


One cool, crisp morning last week, I wuz enjoying a cup of coffee on our deck that overlooks our pond when I saw a “wildlife happening” that made me positive I live in Kansas.

While sipping coffee, I noticed a whitetail doe and two half-grown fawns heading north on the west side of my pond. The fawns stopped to play in the middle of one of my wildlife food plots. They ran around a bit, circled each other, then reared on their hind legs and pawed at each other like a couple of boxers. They did this several times before moving on.

Like I said, I knew I wuz Home on the Range in Kansas because it’s where the deer and the antelope play – well, at least the deer.


We have enjoyed a stretch of mighty fine weather here in the Flint Hills. The temps have been in the 50s and 60s at night and 70s and 80s during the day, and we got a wonderful 2.5-inch rain two nights ago. I’m mighty thankful.


A friend of mine wuz celebrating a marque wedding anniversary recently and ol’ Nevah and I went to the party. When I happened to ask how the happy couple originally met, the husband volunteered this: “Milo, I wuz footloose and fancy free and traveled to several nice vacation spots. My future wife wuz the last resort.”

It’s amazing they’ve been married so long.


I imagine you’re thinking this column is too long, so I’m gonna say “so-long” for this week with these patriotic words of wisdom about government from former President Theodore Roosevelt: “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.” Have a good ‘un.

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