It seemed like a safe little vacation game to play with the grand kids. We were all on a long car ride to western Nebraska and to help pass the time I came up with a game they could play to earn some money for souvenirs.
It started as a nickel for each of the three grandsons for the first one to see a cow, then a horse, then two freight trains passing in opposite directions and on an on.
Five cents at a time doesn't add up very fast. An hour passed by before they finally spotted a hawk and the grand total per grandson was only fifty cents.
That's when the negotiating started with the seven-year old. Something like "Papa, if we see a deer that should be worth a dollar!" Feeling safe that would never happen, I agreed.
About three miles later there was a dead deer on the side of the road. My wife sided with the grand kids in saying it counted.
It was an elk that really changed the game. We were staying at Comstock Lodge near Sargent, Nebraska. It not only serves as a bed and breakfast, but also as a hunting lodge. Included among the featured wildlife are elk, big game that are certainly very rare in Nebraska. And the chances of seeing one on the 3,000 acres preserve seemed very unlikely so I agreed to give each grandson $5 if they should see one of those critters during our stay.
Not long after we returned to the Lodge from a days excursion, the owner invited us to head out with him in his four wheel drive truck to see something special. Sure enough, not one, but two elk were being trucked in that day for release on his property. It was an amazing sight as each of the 1,100 pound animals came storming out of the trailer to the new surroundings.
That was a cool $15 dollar experience for Papa but priceless in terms of a rare opportunity for all of us to enjoy.
In the end, after all the vacation games were over, I paid each grandson $9.90. It was a joy, I can still see their beaming faces. Looking forward to the next adventure together.
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