Write in any form you desire about: If you were going to teach someone how to do something what would it be? How would you do it? Why did the person you’re going to teach pick that subject?
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In case you’ve never read any of my stories, I’m a desert rat. I love the desert. I love the heat. I love camping. I love camping in the desert and, when you camp in the desert, you have to know how to survive on the least amount of water — there ain’t a lot of that wet stuff out there and one of the things you learn is how to clean your dishes after you eat. Many people will find this hard to believe, but sand works wonders in cleaning dishes.
Have you ever heard of sand blasting? Have you ever used sandpaper to smooth or clean something? The concept is the same. Sand cleans things very nicely. When you’re camping in the desert, have only a limited supply of water, and need to clean your dishes — use sand.
My sons had camped with me many times but, for some reason, my older daughter never got around to going with us and had not learned anything about desert survival. One summer, many years ago, I told her that my friend and I were going camping and she said she’d like to go along. As a parent, I felt it was my responsibility to teach her survival techniques because I’d done the same for my sons. I talked to her after we set up camp and said, “One of the things you have to learn is how to cook and clean up in the desert.”
When she agreed, I said, “I’ll cook dinner tonight and you and Bob will clean up. Tomorrow, you can cook and we’ll clean up.”
Realizing this was a learning experience for her, she said okay and we had a fun afternoon riding dirt bikes, drinking, telling stories, and generally having all the fun you would expect on a desert trip.
I don’t remember what I fixed for dinner, but we enjoyed it while sitting around the campfire. After dinner, I led her down into a dry stream bed, pointed to the sand, and said, “That’s how you clean the pots and pans.”
Blank look from her. I bent down, put a handful of sand into the pot, and started rubbing it around. As I backed off and she took my place cleaning the pot, I explained how the cowboys used to use sand all the time to clean everything.
I took a picture of her cleaning one of the pans and then she asked the question I was expecting. “What about the dishes and silverware?”
I said, “Oh, Bob’s taking care of that. You just get the pots and pans clean.”
What she didn’t know was that Bob was, indeed, washing the dishes and silverware except…
I had cooked dinner on a Coleman stove on the tailgate of my truck and Bob had put a pan on there, filled it with water, let it get good and hot, added some dishwashing liquid, and was cleaning everything else in a somewhat more modern manner.
After she finished scrubbing all the pots and pans, we walked back into camp and I took them and said, “Here, let Bob finish those.” That’s when she saw the hot, soapy dishwater and…
I wasn’t her favorite person for a while.