A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


With Washington County teams getting ready for tournament play this week, they remind me of the early seventies when I was coaching the proud Woodland Dragons.  We had good athletes and in those days, the girls (and boys) did not have to choose between sports like basketball and cheering.  They could do both so for some games the cheerleaders travelled on the team bus while the boys’ teams were sent later in the day.  This was the arrangement for playing Lee Academy and Narraguagus.

One year a storm had been predicted for later in the day.  We loaded the girls’ basketball team and the cheerleaders on the bus and went to Narraguagus High School to play the 4 pm game.  The girls played a good game.  When the game was over, we learned that it was then snowing too hard to send the boys’ varsity and j.v. teams to Narraguagus.

Of course, it was not snowing too hard for the girls to return to Woodland.  It was a very interesting trip.  We did not stop and throw a dead bobcat or coyote or fox in the bus to bring home as has been done in recent years, but we did run out of gas on Route 191 by Harry Smith’s old salvage yard.

This was before the days when every girl had a cell phone so we had to do some problem solving for this situation.  The plan we finally agreed to was that two of the girls would walk to Lisa Gillespie Lord’s and ask her father to bring us some gas.  When the two girls got out of the bus, Mr. Smith’s guard dogs for the salvage yard ran to the fence that was near the bus and started making some really strange barks.  Readers who have seen television shows where guard dogs that keep intruders away from their areas will know what the sounds were like.  The two girls screamed and flew back on to the bus.  I think by then we were all screaming.  That was a good wake up call.

I did not want to try another plan.  We sat in the snow storm.  Finally, some parents who had eaten at Helen’s caught up with us and stopped to see what the problem was.  They took the girls to Gillespies’ and brought back some gas for us.  We did make it home that night, but parents waiting at the high school were a bit worried about what had happened to us.

For those former Dragons who were there at the time I have this information.  The Dragons won the game.  The reason we did not eat at Helen’s was the snow storm.  We made up for it at later games.

When we arrived in beautiful down town Baileyville we were ready for some delicious hot soup.  The recipe for a soup that would have hit the spot follows: Mexican Chicken Soup.

Mexican Chicken Soup


One and a half pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

Two teaspoons canola oil

One-half cup water

One envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning

One can  (32 ounces) V-8 juice

One jar (16 ounces) salsa

One can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

One package (10 ounces) frozen corn, thawed

Six tablespoons reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Six tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

Two tablespoons minced fresh cilantro



1. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté chicken in oil until no longer pink.  Add water and taco seasoning: simmer, uncovered until chicken is well-coated.  Transfer to a 5-quart, slow cooker.

2. Stir in V-8 juice, salsa, beans and corn.  Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through. Serve with cheese, sour cream and cilantro.

Next week, we will check out more games and try our hands at Hungarian Stew.