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Desert Folks: Jack Mitchell - Mitchell Caverns

Nothing but Jackrabbits

Much the same as for anywhere and anyone else, times were both good and not so good. Once, after a forty day stretch of having nothing but jackrabbit to eat, their pet badger found its way to the dinner plate. The Mitchell's felt terrible about it, but what has to be done has to be done. From the experience, Jack came up with the following technique for preparing badger:
    First remove the head and hide and probably the insides. Mix a generous amount of dish soap, a gallon bottle of PineSol, and a goodly quantity of Alka Seltzer together in a large wash tub. Don't forget the Alka Seltzer because if you happen to taste the meat, or get some in you, the seltzer will fizz and the animal will think a rattlesnake crawled into its hole and it'll come right out of you possibly leaving you alive. Soak the badger in it for six weeks. This will give the meat a shiny, silky texture when you take it out of the oven and gives the chemicals a chance to thoroughly penetrate the meat and saturate it with its subtle and aromatic chemicals.

    Your badger is now ready for the oven. Next, find an old piece of concrete that will fit in the oven. Strap the badger to the concrete, surround with overly-ripe limburger cheese, then salt and pepper liberally. Be sure to tie the badger down tight to the concrete as you don't want it to escape-it may still be able to. Place the whole thing in the oven that has been preheated to 500 degrees. Next, set the temperature to 2800 degrees and call in a fire alarm. After the fire is put out, open all the doors and windows to get some fresh air in the room, pry open the molten oven door, scrape the badger and cheese off the slab, throw them in the garbage and eat the concrete. I recommend serving with a sledge hammer and suggest a boiling pot of very strong coffee to wash it down. You'll need it.

Camp Clipper 1943

During the years of the WWII, Camp Clipper, just north of the little town of Essex was used to train soldiers to fight in the desert. Jack worked it out with the camp brass to house the officer's wives in a little camp near the caverns. Furthermore, the men of the camp would perform a 16 mile forced march from the camp to the caverns, then, back again the next day to wind up their training. They were only allowed to take a canteen full of water each way to get them used to extended periods of desert warfare on little water. When they'd reach the resort, Jack would let them have all the water they could drink, and give nature talks showing them survival tricks, like cutting open a barrel cactus. The consensus was never good. The resulting liquid was reported as tasting like either skunk juice or soap. Jack and Ida made the best of the situation while the Army denied access to the attraction keeping the paying tourists out. One day, as quickly as the camp arrived, it was gone, and life went on.

At various times over the years Jack had been in a head on collision, had a stroke, and even had his truck stolen, then abandoned in Texas. When he went to pick the truck up, Jack turned the trip into a family reunion with his brother. The telling and retelling his stories over the years finally gave him the distinction of having more far-fetched tales than his brother. Both siblings were quite proud.

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Jack Mitchell of Mitchell Caverns

Living at the Caverns

Nothing but Jackrabbits

The Saddest Story

American badger

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