It seemed to me a good day for a little nostalgia. Hence the Indian costumes. These are shots from about 1965, during the days I was still in High School and Scouting.
The Boy Scouts have an organization called the Order of the Arrow. Membership is by nomination and back in the day it was a big thing. I can’t say where it stands now, as I’ve been out of Scouting for “just a couple years now.” :-)
I admit that membership in the Order was something I was quite proud of at the time. I’ve always been an idealist, and the Order’s commitment to service to others rang true to the ideals that I have always held as true.
The Order is a sort of three part program. Starting out as an Ordeal member you literally go through an “ordeal” to gain entrance including such things as silence, meager food, hard work, and sleeping along in the woods. You seal your membership with a second ceremony some time later, and a limited few can become by nomination Vigil Honor Members.
The organization is open (again by NOMINATION) to adult Scout leaders. It happened that after I joined the organization someone nominated my dad, who was Scoutmaster for Troop 52.
As chance would have it, dad followed after me by a couple years, going through his “ordeal”, joining the “brotherhood” and being nominated to the Vigil Honor.
The year the latter happened I happened to be the elected chief of the local lodge and I was my honor to bring my own father through the Vigil Honor ceremony as well as to choose his Indian name. There was a little bit of a private, family joke involved in that as he was always spooking out his bosses at work because the thought that he was a bit of a loose cannon, but in fact working in a power plant for WE Energies in those days a person with good ears could hear malfunctions in the simple systems long before they were detected by the monitoring systems. More than once, when the boss was in his cubicle trying to hold on a conversation with my dad, the old boy would get up from his desk, walk over to a large panel with lights and graphs and switches and stand there with his hand over a button awaiting the alarm sound that would invevitably go off moments after he arrived. The bosses were sure he was “doing” something to cause the alarms but the truth was that he could hear things not many people can hear. Hence his Indian name — He who hears well. I forget the translation at this point — somewhere I have saved the little triangle that contains his name but I’ll be doggone if I have any idea where it might be right now.
The fella in the pictures with me is Joseph Bauer — he was a school pal, a scouting pal, and another Order member. This was part of one of the ceremonies, and my participation in Joe’s induction ceremony.
Good memories of good times, for sure.
I think about Joe quite often. His dad was a plumber, and his company did a lot of outdoor work. One day, while working in a pit on a some underground piping someone poured hot tar down into the pit and Joe’s dad was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. He suffered horrible burns and his recovery was agonizing, long, and left him with lifelong scarring. Whenever I get to thinking about how life is tough I almost always remember Joe’s dad — and realize that my life is duck soup by comparison. And after it all, my memories of Joe’s dad are of a gentle, patient, and loving father. Adversity really does bring out the real “us.”