This post was written by Steve Henry
I find it very exciting learning new things. My father once told me that if you ever stop learning, your life is over.
I like to consider myself a well rounded person who is well read and who feels comfortable at Fenway Park cussing at the New York Yankees, or at the Boston Symphony wearing a tuxedo.
Well, I was discussing camping techniques with some of my students who had gone camping this past weekend at a campground called Camp Pretty Pond. Camp Pretty Pond is used by the Girl Scouts of America for the troops in the tri-county area, which includes New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick county North Carolina. Camp Pretty Pond, however, is open to anyone who wishes to camp, as long as the Girl Scouts are not using the facility. I am an avid camper and outdoorsman, so the conversation with my students was intriguing. We discussed things such as hiking, navigation, star-gazing, etc… I asked if they knew how Native Americans found their way through a forest without getting lost. I know things like this because my mother is Cherokee Indian and when I was a child my Grandfather taught me these things. I explained how I could break a branch in two, or set a stone against a tree as a marker, but for the regular traveler through the woods, this would seem like nothing special.
My students enjoyed my stories of such things, but the conversation quickly turned to eating. They looked me straight in the eye and said, “We used a Dutch Oven.” I’m sorry, but I was laughing so hard inside at this because I did not know there was such a thing as a real Dutch Oven. A Dutch Oven to me is this: You go get under the covers before your significant other comes to bed, and – well you know. When your partner gets into bed they are in for a treat. Sounds corny, but truly is one of the funniest things you can do.
For all of you guys out there that are reading this and saying, “That is just disgusting…” take a deep breath because, both you know and I know it is funny.
I asked my students if they could bring in the Dutch Oven they used because I wanted to see it for myself. Sure enough, the next morning one of my student’s mothers brought in the Dutch Oven for me to take a look at. Right away, I recognized it as what I have always called a camp oven. I said, “Oh, that’s a camp oven,” and of course the mother replied, No silly, it is a Dutch Oven. I could feel my insides tightening up with laughter, just thinking about this lady that has apparently never experienced a “real” Dutch Oven.
That night I went home and researched Dutch Ovens. I have expanded my horizons, so to say. I even found out there is such a thing as an International Dutch Oven Society based in Utah, that will help you with recipes and such. I think I will stick to the term “camp oven” since that is what I have always called it. I still chuckle at myself at this whole thing. You can take the grown man away from childish things, but you can never take the child out of the man. I hope I still find Dutch Ovens funny when I am 90 years old.