I can recall my parents being so proud of me, and I was doing things that could make one's parents proud. I was an Altar boy, helping the priest to say mass, conduct funerals and weddings, I loved it enough to go for Ad Altare Dei, the BSA award for religious service. There was magic in the air when the incense burned, and I struck the match that lit the charcoal, so all would be ready when father would make that happen. I worked hard at delivering papers four days a week on my bike. Rainy days dad would load the station wagon with my papers and Ricks and drive the route with us. He worked hard, too, and then balanced time at home, with continuing education ( he took German classes with my mom for fun). A man of a thousand talents, yet his best was making me know that I was doing good, and that I was loved. Oh how I would miss that assurance when I was straying and lost touch with my dad.
I did the study and projects for each rank of Boy scouts, and some were easier than others. I loved swimming, rowing, canoeing, all accomplished during summer camps at camp Whitsett. I could not stay awake for the astronomy assignment that had us charting the sky at midnight, two and four am, so some one let me copy their chart, close enough. We walked an extra mile to get the order of the arrow, my dad and I, eating less, and doing with few comforts for the weekend away with other hearty souls. breakfast was a raw egg and a Dixie cup. What you did with it was up to you. Some tried to boil the water in the paper cup and cook the egg, most of those went hungry as their egg fell into the fire. Dad and I drank our egg, and were glad we did. the last night each candidate was led to a remote place, with only their sleeping bag, and told to stay there, to not talk until morning when some one would come and get them. Being comfortable by yourself was valued, and now I wonder how many people ever get to enjoy that feeling?
When I had fifteen or seventeen merit badges and needed 21 to get to eagle scout, dad's desire for me to push on became evident. He had become first class, star and Life rank but had not been able to complete the eagle Scout requirements ( he had no parents, them having died when he was just a baby). I could see him getting his second chance through me, and yes it did feel great to stand on the stage at my school, at the Eagle Scout court of Honor, where I was the honoree. Mom pinned on my medal, dad shook my hand, as did the other scout masters and leaders who came to the big night. Mom wrote a piece for the paper I delivered, just like she had when i went to the World Jamboree in Japan. She was a good press agent, and I hope I did her proud when I wrote about her this past year.
There is more to tell, much more.
Tales of mountains climbed, dark valleys visited, of hope and fears that worked into a young mans mind, and had to be worked out on the field of battle that is every day life. I have not won yet, but I am still fighting, with everything that my parents and God have given me, I will be faithful until the end.