Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Scout's honor!

  To me one of the best things about growing up in a small town was the limited amount of choices of activities that we had available to us. What, your saying, that's right, unlike the kids in the big cities where the choices of things to do was probably unlimited. In our town it was choose to participate, or stay home and do more chores. One of the best activities to me was Boy Scouts! Getting to go hiking, camping, cooking your own food, and especially not having to take a bath every night! I mean how much better could it get? Well, it did, the night at Scout meeting when our Scout leaders told us that we were gonna get to go to Scout camp that summer.

  I think that was the longest school year on record. Time just drug by. Nothing seemed to speed it up, and the worst was at the meetings when they would tell us about everything that we could choose to do down there. It seemed like the whole world awaited us just a few miles South at Camp MK Brown. Fishing, canoeing, rifle shooting, bow and arrow shooting just to name a few. It seemed worse than waiting on Christmas to get here, but finally the day arrived. We all met at the Scout Hut and loaded all of our gear into the pickups and trailers and headed off to Mobeetie, TX. and our week at camp!

  We arrived and got assigned our camping area. We spent the rest of the afternoon pitching tents and setting up our camp. It was a decent site, we had a bathroom close down the trail, but the chow hall was kinda far away, oh well I guess you can't have everything. We would get up in the mornings and head off to participate in the activities that were being offered. I remember talking Calvin into going canoeing, which wasn't an easy task since he couldn't swim. He threatened me to within an inch of my life, that if I tipped the canoe over and he lived, I would live to regret it. Needless to say I didn't tip it over and we both lived. Then I found the shooting range. Talk about being in heaven. This is where I learned to shoot something bigger than a BB gun.

  As the week went on and we began making friends with other kids from other towns, word started getting around and we started hearing stories about a right of passage that occurred on the last day of camp. An activity that if not participated in made the whole week just a waste of time. Might as well have stayed home, something that every troop in the entire camp took part in, and since we was one of the smallest troops there would take considerable effort on our part just to survive it. However, to a person we knew we would be more than up to the challenge of the great gourd fight of Scout camp!

  A troop meeting was called for that night, we had to start making our plans now if we were going to show these bigger towns what we were made of. Towns with familiar names like Pampa, Borger, Dumas, and some towns that we had never heard of. All we knew was that at the chow hall when we looked at their troops, there were only about 15 of us, and what seemed like a hundred of them. First we found a few aluminum trash cans. We emptied them out and hid them at strategic spots along the trails where only we knew where they were. Then whenever we found some gourds, we picked them, put them in our pockets, and then put them into the cans when we went by one of them. We came up with a password so that if someone started throwing gourds at you, you could holler out Kiabow, and if whoever was throwing at you was one of our guys then they were supposed to stop throwing at you.

  Finally the big night was here. Everyone ate their supper quickly so that when they dismissed us we would be ready for battle. As night approached we finalized our plans, and set out to show everyone that we were the troop to beat. A few minutes after it got dark Calvin and I were sitting in our spot along the trail when we heard footsteps coming down the trail, then all of a sudden we heard some yelling. The guys up the trail had begun throwing gourds at some guys that had been trying to sneak up on our camp. We started laughing because we knew they probably wouldn't try that again! After a few more minutes we once again heard someone coming, but from the other direction this time. As they got right in front of us we started throwing gourds at them just as fast as we could, and I knew we were hitting them because of all the yelling that was coming from the trail. Then I saw Calvin rare back and unleash a gourd towards one of the guys that had been running. Now I can still see that gourd heading towards that guy because it was in slow motion. In the moonlight I recognized him from some of the activities I had seen him at. We called him Whitey, not really sure why, maybe it was because of his blonde hair, but this kid was definitely different. The best way I can describe Whitey is if you remember the cartoon character of Ichabod Crane in The Headless Horseman. He was tall and skinny with an Adams Apple that stuck out at least 2 inches from his neck, and a hooked nose. When he ran arms, legs, elbows, and knees went in all different directions at the same time. I never could figure out how he got enough of himself headed in one direction to get any place, but he did. I saw the gourd that Calvin threw explode as it hit him in the side of the head. The impact knocked him off of his feet, of course I think he only weighed about 50 pounds, and he hit the ground with a thud. He layed there for a few moments before he began to spit and sputter trying to get the gourd fragments out of his mouth, eyes, and ears. As Calvin and I took off running up the trail to get more gourds we could hear him babbling something to the effect of he was gonna get whoever it was that got him.

  When we got back to the camp Calvin and I began laughing about the Whitey incident, and deep down I think we were happy that we hadn't hurt him. Calvin headed towards the bathroom. About the time Calvin got his pants down some of the guys that saw someone go in began throwing gourds at the bathroom. Now, whether or not the guys knew it was Calvin that went into the restroom they never did say, but suddenly you could hear Calvin yelling at the top of his lungs, kiabow, kiabow, kiabow. Finally the barrage ended. One of the older guys told us we needed to go down the trail to the shed where the lawn equipment was so we could help guard the prisoners.  I was thinking, what prisoners, and when we got their, our leaders had decided that they would help us out, and whenever someone would run by they would run out and throw a blanket over their heads and carry them back to the shed. They had done pretty good too, there was 4 or 5 kids in there!

  Sometime during the night, and all outta gourds, arms sore, and feet tired, the great gourd war came to a end, and we all went to bed with the knowledge that we took on the big towns and had held our own. Breakfast call came awfully early that morning, but we were all still pretty pumped up about the nights battle. At breakfast one of the camp councilors came over to our table. I remember him asking us "What was going on over there on the South side of the camp. I thought I was going to have to send out a riot squad!" We all just laughed and told him we didn't know what he was talking about.

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