Potlucks and Holidays with Rangers

First staff potluck in May

Last week I wrote about working with the large group of rangers here at Pipe Spring.  In addition to being the largest staff at a small park, I think this group is also more extroverted than most of the rangers.  Every other week someone (not me) plans a get-together to which everyone is invited.  In three months we have had five potlucks.

Each of the potlucks has a theme.  We celebrated Thanksgiving in June and Christmas in July.  We also had a farewell “comfort food” potluck for Ranger Kait when she transferred to Washington DC.  My favorite potlucks are a little more laid-back.  I like the game night potlucks.

Not quite Norman Rockwell

Our Thanksgiving potluck was hosted by Rangers Miranda and Sarah.  It was well attended and we had traditional Thanksgiving foods.  Even our Paiute rangers came and they don’t really like Thanksgiving, although they do like turkey.  Our park superintendent, Fred Armstrong comes to most of the potlucks to show his support for his staff.  He usually brings the meat.

Ranger Sarah even put up Christmas decorations!

Our Christmas potluck was smaller, hosted just by Ranger Sarah.  Everyone brought dessert except for Superintendent Fred who provided meatballs.  We had a white elephant gift exchange.  It was a good opportunity to get rid of some things that were lying around the RV.  Of course, the rule is always that you have to take whatever you got with you.  So Ranger Andy with the size 13 feet took home the women’s size 7 shoes he received.  I brought home a stuffed clown that I left in the picnic pavilion for any kids here at the campground.  Tom got a really nice stone clock.  I think my family might be seeing it at our Christmas white elephant exchange.

Farewell to Ranger Kait

Chief of Interpretation, Fermin Salas, hosted the comfort food potluck.  We were all sad about Kait leaving – she was the volunteer coordinator  and hired all the seasonal rangers.  So we had macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, pulled pork, and lots of sweets.  Definitely short of veggies and fruit.  I guess those aren’t comfort foods.

Our very first potluck here at Pipe Spring was a “get to know you” meal.  We shared food in May and ate around the chuckwagon campfire outside.  It was before monsoon season started, so no danger of a sudden thunderstorm.  Sharing a meal together was a god way to get to know the people we were working with for the summer.

Rangers Kait and Darren man the grill

Game night potlucks have a wide range in number of people.  We might have as few as four and as many as 15.  The host, usually Ranger Darren, prepares a main dish and we all bring things that go with it.  I usually take dessert because I like to bake better than cook.  Someone usually brings watermelon, which is a ranger favorite.

We enjoy the potlucks we eat with rangers.  It is a good way to play and get to know the people we work with.  The potlucks are also a good way to make every place we work feel like home.