Bat Stuff

In 1974, we rented a 35 foot RV for our trip back to Kansas to visit our folks. Russ and Doug would be 16 in the fall and we figured this might be our last chance for a big family vacation trip. Terri was going to be 13 so she was old enough to share the grown-up attractions along the way and enjoy the trip also. So that Terri would have a buddy to share things with, we invited Susan Trivett as she and Terri were good friends of the same age.

The boys were typical teenagers, rebellious, and not about to admit that they might be enjoying something. Also, this was that sad time in history when all boys thought they should have long hair hanging down to their shoulders. I hated it but at the same time was proud that they took care of their hair and kept it clean.

We took the southern route and made it all the way to Las Cruces, NM the first night. The next morning we got up and headed for Carlsbad Caverns. At the Caverns, we took the tour and all enjoyed the spectacular sights. The boys were in their teenage mode and complaining about everything though we were pretty sure that they were paying strict attention to the tour guide and taking it all in. We enjoyed visiting the different chambers and hearing the stories of the guide. We were all fascinated when we heard about the number of bats living in the cave and about the thousands of tons of bat guano that had been deposited on the floors.

We reached the end of the tour and headed back outside. The boys, though absorbing the wealth of information dispensed by the tour guide, had complained non-stop. Russ had been particularly bad about it, so Pat, in an effort to lighten things up, (and maybe get back at him a little) told Russ that it looked like he had some of that bat guano in his hair. Susan chimed in and said she saw it, too. The rest of us jumped in and started pointing and laughing and Russ was completely mortified. He ran to the nearest restroom, wetted some towels and started scrubbing his hair. I don’t remember how long he worked at it but it was some time before he realized it was all a joke. Always a good sport, his face turned red but he was able to laugh a little. We had a great trip and shared a lot of sights and Pat and I believe that the kids will have nothing but good memories of the trip.

Dave Thomas
February 21, 2015


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