Kathy Bassett: Memories and rural one-room schools

Kathy Bassett

Kathy Bassett's column, "The View from Maybell," appears in the Saturday Morning Press.

My kids are not going to forget that they went to a tiny one-room school in Brown’s Park.

They made lots of memories

Of course, there were no school buses, so we parents drove the kids to school. For some, it was a 20- or 30-mile trip, and others were six to 10 miles. I remember one morning in particular, we pulled into the schoolyard, but the kids couldn’t get into the school.

The doors were locked. I walked around to the back door and could see some students and the teacher inside, so I knocked. The teacher opened the door with a huge sigh of relief and asked me to please call the sheriff because some wild man had been pounding on the door yelling something about a Toro.

She was frightened.

Well, we knew that Toro meant bull, so we sort of figured out who the “wild man” was and drove over to see what the problem was. He was very upset, excitedly pointing at the corrals.

There laid a bull definitely looking sickly, so we called the ranch owner who told us what to do. We gave the bull a shot, which saved the bull and everyone lived happily ever after.

Even the teacher was happy that it turned out OK. The “wild man” turned out to be somewhat lonesome, but very friendly, so he enjoyed it immensely when we’d visit.

We couldn’t speak each other’s language, but we drew lots of pictures.

One frosty winter morning, we were goose hunting and decided to also trap some muskrats.

The “X” would take a board, attach a muskrat trap and nail an apple on the board. Then he would set it into the pond and it would float along. He caught lots of muskrats that way.

The “wild man” was really watching us closely, and when the “X” let the last board loose into the water, the little guy started jumping around laughing with glee, and all we could get out of him was that he thought we were going to trap “da goose,” which he thought was hilarious.

Of course Brown’s Park used to have awesome Christmas parties, and that winter, I invited the “wild man” to go as our guest. He was sure tickled. I noted that throughout all the times we saw him that winter, he didn’t have a warm coat, mittens or anything, so I bought a bright red set of mittens, stocking hat and scarf.

He had the happiest face watching everyone open their gifts, but when Santa handed him his gift, he was shocked.

He carefully opened the package, and when he saw what it was, he laughed and clapped and was so happy. He put it on right there. I still think about him, remembering how he loved that warm hat, gloves and scarf.

From that moment on, he never took them off, and I even saw him wearing them in the summer.

Now we come down 30 years later to another tiny rural school in Maybell. Maybell might not have the glamour and glitz of big cities and towns, but it has lots of awesome history and residents.

How many schools do you walk into only to be greeted by two really nice antelope mounts hanging on the wall? And Maybell has 17 super kids. They are making memories also.

This past week, they, along with big people help, of course, hosted a complete Thanksgiving dinner for Maybell residents, and I want you to know that it was a fabulous feast.

When we walked in, they were getting our drinks for us and fixing the coffee just right. They waited on us at the tables. They cut the pies, which they made, and passed them around.

It was awesome. I just hope the boys and girls know how much they are appreciated, and I would like to tell them thanks.

It was a wonderful thing to do.

In closing, I would like to point out another wonderful thing — not just for Maybell, but all Moffat County. Seniors are invited to fill out an application telling Santa what they would like for a gift.

The gift wishes will be placed on tags and hung on “Giving Trees” at Kmart and Murdochs. They will be listed only as male and female, and all information is totally confidential.

Residents will then go pick out a tag, buy that gift and return it to the store, placing it in a collection box next to the tree. A KRAI Media Drive will be held Dec. 9 and 10 to help buy gifts.

You should submit your form before Dec 10. The forms are available at Maybell Store, Sunset Meadows I and II, Social Services and United Way, which is located at the First National Bank of the Rockies.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and gobble til ya wobble.

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