My eating habits are odd compared to the average person. Anyone who knows me will confirm this. Even back in public school, I would trade some of my lunch for bread and dinner rolls. I rather make a meal of bread than anything else. It has always been that way; I think it is hereditary since one of my Nephews has similar habits. One of the things I like to eat is raw green onions. One good side effect of eating green onions is it keeps my sinuses clear. Jennifer keeps green onions in the refrigerator for me and if she needs them for a recipe, she makes sure there is some left over.

I thought back to when I discovered that I liked green onions and it goes back to the summer of 1974 when I was 15 years old. I went to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a survival camp. We backpacked and lived in the mountains above Colorado Springs for a couple of weeks. Part of that training was we had to survive on our own for three days with three matches, a K-Bar knife, an aluminum cup, a flashlight, a sheet of plastic and three beef bouillon cubes. We also had a whistle but to only use it if we felt threatened by a bear or were snake bit. They gave each of us our track of land we could do anything we needed to do to survive, only we were not allowed to go any further, since there were other people doing the same thing and they did not want us to see each other. We had about two acres that was ours. There was a stream that went through everyone’s land, so we all had fresh water. And there was no peeing in the stream since someone downstream that may be drinking the water! Someone from the leadership would stop by once a day to make sure we were OK.

I made camp next to a rock outcrop about halfway up the mountain. I could see the stream in the valley below. I made a lean-to shelter from the plastic. I tried to make a fire but after the third match there was little hope for the fire. The first night I popped one of the bouillon cubes in my mouth and enjoyed that until it was gone. I remember laying on the ground that night staring at the sky. There were no artificial lights around so I could see the galaxy of stars. A cloud would wonder by overhead but would not block the majestic scene before me.

The next morning, I went down to the stream hoping I could find something to eat. There were fish but I had no luck in getting one. Just as I started back up the hill, I saw a snake, so I threw my knife at it and knocked it out. I picked up my knife and cut the head off. It was a black neck garter snake, so it was not poisonous. Problem was, since I did not have a fire, I would have to eat it raw, I was not that hungry, yet. I felt bad about killing the snake as I threw it to the other side of the stream. As I walked back uphill, I noticed that the knee-high weeds around me had sort of an onion smell. I pulled one out of the ground and took a bite of the root. It was good! I found out later that these were green onions. For the next three days, I lived on green onions, water and the two beef bouillon cubes.

In our debrief after hiking back to the main camp when our survival days were over, we all compared our experiences. Out of the group of ten guys, only two were able to start and maintain a fire for the three days. A couple of the other guys were able to start a fire but did not have a fire the last two days. Most were like me and could not start a fire since we tried to use green wood to get it started. Some of the guys caught fish, a couple of them ate raw fish and snakes. I was the only one that was happy with living on green onions.

There was a basecamp where we would end up when we were not living up in the mountains. When we were there, we had to run trails for about an hour before breakfast. I hate running, especially in mountains but you do what you must do. The last stretch of the run as we approached the base camp circled a small lake. At the other edge of the lake was where we had breakfast. One day instead of running around the lake, I dove in and swam across. That water was cold, which I did not expect. Since the air was about 65 degree, it took a while to warm up, but that coffee was good. One of the guys that was running with us complained to the camp leader that I cheated by swimming across the lake. He said that he did not cheat, everyone is welcome to swim across if they wanted. The next few days most everyone except me dove in the lake, I did not want to get cold like that again, so I ran around the lake. They all learned the hard way too.

Other things we did those two weeks; we backpacked all over the mountains above Colorado Springs, did some rock climbing and learned how to rope repel off cliffs. That was my least favorite thing to do was rope repel. Going over the side of the cliff was a challenge for me, but I did it. I was glad to get to the ground.

Since we were near the Air Force Academy there were some aircraft crash site that we would explore. The leaders would challenge us to identify the aircraft and I found that I excelled at that. I was able to identify most of the aircrafts that hit those mountains. I recall seeing a site where a B29 crashed, I identified that one right off since I recognized one of the main gears and the tire tread pattern. We could look through the site but were not allowed to take anything. As we looked through the B29 site I found a toothbrush and part of the frame for eyeglasses. That was sobering to see. Most of the sites we explored were Air Force trainer aircraft and the pilots were able to eject but this one had total loss of crew. As we approached this site, we were told that this one had a total loss of crew, so we were to be reverent as we explored the wreck site.

I learned a lot those two weeks, especially about myself. I learned that I could survive with little to nothing if I had to. I learned that I love green onions. I also learned that no matter where you are or what your circumstances are, God is always there with you if you seek a walk with Him.