Soon after my parents married in 1955, they started building a cabin in Red River. The cabin was setting on the side of the mountain up Bitter Creek Canyon (the forest service had sold 99-year leases). The cabins up Bitter Creek were not the mansions that people build today. Mostly these cabins were places to camp out for the summer. There were about 10 to 20 cabins lining the mountainside – all built in the late 50’s to early 60’s. For a long time there was no water or sewer to the cabins. Each cabin had an outhouse situated slightly up the hill from the cabin. As a little girl, I thought the outhouses were like community property. If one was full, you could use your neighbor’s. If you were out playing or climbing on the mountain, you could just stop and use someone’s outhouse – very convenient.
We hauled water from town in several big jugs and containers. I remember filling the bottles with my dad at Frye’s store. We had a big galvanized tub for bathing that would hold two kids. I assume it held one adult, but I was always bathed with another kid – saving on water and time. If there were lots of friends or family staying with us, the adults would put all us kids out on the porch to play and bring us in two by two to bathe us. Once again, I do not know what the adults did while other adults were bathing, but they were not out on the porch with us. The water was heated up on the stove and used over and over until all were bathed – hmmm I am glad the kids went first and I was a kid.
I can remember when the cabin had no electricity, but we did get that soon enough. I can remember swinging from the rafters. Dad would set Craig and I up there and let us swing from one to the next like monkey bars showing off for visitors. There was no TV or telephone. We had books that we read through the summer. Craig and I fought over a biography of Sam Houston. We were allowed to roam all over the mountain at a very young age. We had trees that served as a car, a helicopter and just a plain old swing. We had forts and hideouts everywhere. The neighbor had an old cook stove out back that was perfect for making mud pies. The driveway served as a super ramp for our little red wagon (actually a bit dangerous). We could fly down the driveway sometimes crashing before we got to the road – sometimes flying across the road to land in the creek-bed. We had traps to try and catch chipmunks (the cat and a box worked best because the cat could catch the chipmunk and we could catch the cat).
Although Dad never finished the cabin, everyone always seemed to be having fun there. All my memories of the cabin have family or friends or sometimes strangers staying with us. I thought about the cabin today because I live in an unfinished house again. I haul drinking water in big jugs from town (the water here tastes yuck). Although we have electricity and TV, we still tend to read books. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have lots of company crowded around my table. It is a lot like the cabin in RR. When I get crazed by the little inconveniences of an unfinished home, I will think of the cabin and all the great memories there. I am very thankful for running water and a shower, for sheetrock on the walls and ceiling, and for electricity and all it brings in modern technology. I am thankful for good times.