Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gooseberry Shenanigans

Cheers for another eventful week...

Our driveway hosted our annual block party. Lots of shoes, socks, and jackets were left behind, but luckily no kids.  The people that rear-ended our white car called to say they actually didn't have insurance. Our whole-house speaker system got fried in an electrical storm. Crazy weather we've been having, right? The house has been eerily devoid of news, music, and all my favorite talk shows.  I accompanied our third grader on her epic overnight field trip to Gooseberry . Cannon has been home through it all, sick with a cough and fever. And the grand finale of the the week--We celebrated 16 years of marriage with a trip to the temple, a restaurant dinner, and uninterrupted conversation. (see last week's post)

A little more detail about the field trip:
Gooseberry (n) A rite of passage for all 3rd grade residents of this county that consists of 2 days and one night of outdoor classes about things like fire safety, wildlife, stream ecology, and what to do if you get lost.  The children have dinner and sing campy songs around a fire. Then when it gets dark they hear a story from a veteran storyteller about "Annie Bangs," the ghost girl that haunts the campground.

 ....It was a hard winter back in 1800-something and the Bangs family never made it out of the canyon. Later that Spring, explorers found their cabin, the parents frozen dead in their beds but little Annie's cradle?  Empty. What had become of her? No one knew until hunters and campers began to notice their food or clothing would come up missing, especially RED things. There were sightings but Annie Bangs was elusive and remained  legend.

Suddenly, there she appears in the flesh running through the woods, like a man-teacher dressed in red with a crazy white wig.  To their utter horror, she runs through the crowds grabbing kids and threatening to haul them off into the forest. The kids,who have parents there cling to them and scream. The kids who can't find their parents cling to me and scream-- and those who do not have parents there? -- heaven help them. After a good amount of terrorizing and children bawling, everyone is sent to bed in their assigned cabins with warnings that Annie Bangs may come scratching at the windows.  No one sleeps except those who are snoring.
The next day the teachers cook breakfast, there is a flag ceremony and more hands-on learning from the forest rangers. It ends with lunch and clean-up.  Everyone returns home smelly, exhausted, and with a t-shirt "I SURVIVED" (not really but they should)  You may wonder, especially if you have city roots, Is this humane? and why is this program allowed to continue year after year? The answer: This ain't the city. Those 3rd graders come home a little older and a lot wiser. Like the running of the bulls or the polar bear plunge they know they have joined another generation to have survived an epic tradition-- Gooseberry.

 In search of Annie Bangs...Oh yes, we dare.


Megan said...

Your retelling of The Legend of Annie Bangs just made my day. "Oh yes, we dare." I am dying. It's so perfectly fabulous.

Sherie Christensen said...

That's got to be the weirdest tradition for third graders I've ever heard of, but it doesn't look like anyone was actually scared to death, and there are smiling pictures so it must be okay:) I hope Cannon is better, your wiring can be fixed without too much hassle, and that the people with no insurance had lots of spare cash, and that you have many more happy anniversaries!