Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tiny Mailman Goes Camping

It's been nearly a week since I did the unthinkable and spent the night at the Windsor Fairgrounds...in a tent...in October.

The bitter cold has left my joints and my lower back has recovered from a night of lying on the cold, hard ground with little padding. While I learned that my 41-year-old body is a bit too old for tent camping without creature comforts like an inflatable mattress, the experience was definitely worth having, because lying next to me - in three layers of fleece and sweatshirts - was the Tiny Mailman himself, on his first Scouting overnight camping trip.

The smile on his face as he burrowed into his sleeping bag and settled into a deep sleep after a very busy day was worth a lifetime of aches and pains.

Jack and I spent part of the weekend in Windsor as part of Scout Fest 2010, a celebration that drew hundreds of Scouts to the site to mark the 100th anniversary of Boys Scouts of America. While there, the boys earned merit badges, took part in contests, played games, participated in activities like archery and enjoyed the cameraderie and friendship that Scouting provides.

It was a great experience tempered only a little by the cold October winds and the dropping temps that left a thick layer of frost on our tent by morning. And it was one I would not have missed for the world.

Seeing Jack's excitement as he tried new things and chattered constantly about his goals and plans for Scouting - all the way through Eagle Scout (thanks to the encouragement he's received from my nephew-in-law Mark Quint and his father Walt - both former Eagle Scouts) - I recalled the one overnight Scouting experience I shared with my own father.

I was only a few years older than Jack when Dad and I spent part of a weekend at Camp Bomazeen in Belgrade. That was more than thirty years ago, yet I remember even the smallest details of that trip as though it happened yesterday. And that alone time with my Dad, doing something that was both new and important to me, ranks high among my collective memories of our years together. I can only hope that Jack will remember our Windsor excursion with the same fondness someday.

In the meantime, I've started a list of necessities for our next camping trip - and plans for a trip to Cabela's -to ensure a quicker recovery for this old body the next time around.

1 comment:

  1. You are an amazing Dad, John and I'm sure Jack will treasure the memories and reflect on them as you do with your memories of Dad!

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