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Moments on the Trail

July 25, 1997|KATHY STICKEL

* DRINKS ON THE HOUSE. When we stopped for the night in Jeffrey City, Wyo., the Ore House Bar was kind enough to invite us all over for free beer. Half of the participants on the Mormon Trail Wagon Train are not Mormons, so they took the Ore House up on the offer. When the bar owners found out that the rest of us don't drink alcohol, they cheerfully ladled out soft drinks. The hit of the evening was a karaoke demonstration, when Al Pero, a wild-looking manwith a beard, ponytail and granny glasses, put on my pink dress and joined me, my cousin and Kimberly Lloyd in singing "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar." It was good enough to make the evening news back in Salt Lake.

* CHICKEN TONIGHT. Floyd Hohl's friend Lloyd Meinhardt couldn't make the trip but sent his beloved chicken, Cluck-Cluck, along with Floyd's wagon. Floyd sets quite a store by Cluck-Cluck and took seriously his responsibility to care for him; in fact, at times it was almost funny. Too funny to resist, as it turned out. Sheila Amdor, 40, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Larry "Turbo" Stewart, 25, of Milton, Iowa, took a dead chicken's foot and put Cluck-Cluck's leg leash on it. They scattered a few feathers around, hid Cluck-Cluck and started talking about a yellow dog running around camp. Floyd ran to his wagon to check on his poultric pal. Gone! He picked up the leash with the leg attached and said in mournful tones, "That's too bad. But then I never did think he'd make it the whole way." Floyd took the loss so hard that Sheila and Turbo felt like yellow dogs themselves. They gave the chicken back and apologized.

At trail's end, Cluck-Cluck, in one piece, was returned to Lloyd.

* BONNET TO GO. Grace Henry couldn't come on the wagon train either, but her bonnet has reached the Salt Lake Valley. Grace brought her bonnet to the pioneer reenactment camp and asked Marjean Toone, of Bountiful, Utah, to take it along the trail for her. Different women wore the bonnet on the trail and sent postcards back to Grace in Cozad, Neb. She is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so I asked her why she wanted to send her bonnet with us on the trail. "My aunt was a member," she explained.

"I loved her dearly. She hasn't been gone too long now, and I wanted the bonnet to go to the end of the trail for her."

* SANTA'S SUMMER VACATION. Sporting a white beard, cheery blue eyes, rosy cheeks and a nose like cherry, Ray Hailey of New Virginia, Iowa, looked so much like St. Nick that several children on the trail turned their Christmas lists in to him. Allison and Amy Irving (ages 4 and 6, respectively), of Houston were among them. Amy is pining for a "quarter horse, seven stuffed animals, and four bottles of water." Only a child living on the trail would think to ask for water for Christmas.

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