Edited by John Clark
About 4 a.m., while camping at Aransas Wildlife Refuge, a troubled Scout insistently saying, “Help me! Help me!” awakened me. The boy wasn’t screaming, but his voice seemed reserved, as if he was purposely keeping it quiet.
I jumped from my cot, went outside, and found the sounds coming from another campsite about 100 feet away. Joined by another man with a lantern, I approached the boy’s tent and found him crouched in the back—as far as he could get so as not to upset a skunk that had crawled into the tent during the night.
The skunk, seeing the light, calmly walked out of the tent and away into the night—without using its offensive defense.
The boy was shook up, but I’m sure the experience gave him something to talk about for years to come.
Melvin E. Kronk
Canine caught in the grizzly deed
Our first weekend backpacking trip on the Asbury Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was a great trip except for an unexpected guest.
A bear dog wandered into the park and became lost. Our Scouts caught the dog in hopes of returning it to its owner.
The next day, two adult friends named Doug and Marlow joined us at our campsite. Unlike our group, which brought only freeze-dried food, they brought real groceries.
That night, everyone was encouraged to store their food properly because we were in bear country, and our Scouts did. Still, at about 2 a.m. I heard Doug call out to Marlow that there was a bear in camp and that it was outside his tent.
I sat up in my own tent trying to decide how I was going to protect our kids from this intruder. Then I heard Marlow laughing and telling his friend, “Doug, go back to sleep. It’s just the bear dog.”
“Thank goodness,” Doug replied. “I only have a pocketknife.”
Doug had left his frying pan under the edge of his rain fly, and the dog was licking it clean.
While holding our Scout-O-Rama at a local park, Ken, one of our younger Scouts, put up posters advertising the event on town light poles.
One of our men advised us that it was illegal to do so and suggested we remove them. Ken was quite upset about this, but I told him not to be—that we learn from our mistakes.
Then, facetiously, I added, “That’s why I’m so smart.”
“Gee, Mr. Wilson,” Ken said, innocently looking up at me. “You must have made lots of mistakes.
John R. Wilson
Check it for teeth marks
I accompanied my son on a 50-mile bike ride with his troop on a beautiful, sunny fall day in Vermont. Unfortunately I had brake trouble that caused me to fall behind for a quick repair.
By the time I caught up with the group, I found my son off to the side of the road with a scowl on his face.
“What’s wrong,” I asked.
“Flat tire,” was his terse reply.
When I asked him about possible causes, he mentioned seeing a dead squirrel in the road a short while before the air went out. As we inspected the tire for signs of the culprit, we saw a squirrel’s tooth embedded in the rubber.
Though we were familiar with the “snakebite puncture” that can occur from riding with low tire pressure, the “squirrel bite” was a new one on us.
John J. Chesarek
Too little sizzle
Our Scouts had backpacked into the Uinta wilderness area in Utah. Some of them were working on their Cooking merit badge, and Jay decided to cook a steak as part of the requirement.
The steak was quite thick and almost too large for his frying pan. So after waiting awhile, I went by to check on Jay to see how he was doing.
“Mr. Hawkins, my steak is cooked,” he told me, “I want you to taste it so you can pass me off on the requirement.”
The steak was burned totally black, but when I cut into the hunk of meat with my knife, it was blood red. I asked Jay if he thought the steak was cooked properly.
“Yes,” he answered. “It’s cooked just the way my mom does them at home.”
They didn't bring any leftovers
After her son’s first Council Camporee, the mother called me with a concern. Her new Scout told her that the Scoutmasters had left the Troop unsupervised in the campsite to eat dinner at a local restaurant: Cracker Barrel.
She was relieved when I explained that the adults had attended a “cracker barrel,” a meeting at the Camporee that we held only a few feet away from the boys.
An old, old patch
In an attempt to get the boys to accept more responsibility for planning events, I called the senior patrol leader to the front of the room to make a point between his office and that of the Scoutmaster.
With our left shoulders to the audience, I pointed to the senior patrol leader’s patch and asked, “What does this patch say?”
With great vigor, all of the boys replied, “Senior patrol leader!”
I then pointed to my shoulder and asked, “What does this patch say?” They all replied, “Scoutmaster!”
Thinking I was going to make great strides with the illustration, I asked the troop, “Now, what’s the difference between these two patches?’
With unabashed enthusiasm, one of my assistant Scoutmasters in the back of the room shouted, “About 30 years!”