What’s in a name???

This blog is not MS themed, but I was reminiscing and thought it would be a good story to share. Many people, including a published author, have read my blog and suggested writing a book based on my blog and MS life. However, this story would not be in the book if there were to be one, though I am not sure I will write one. I hope you enjoy reading about my childhood memories as much as I enjoyed living them. During this happy yet hectic holiday season, I hope everyone stays safe and has a very merry Christmas and a joyous and jubilant New Year. I have family visiting, so I will post previous blogs through the holiday season.

What’s in a name???

I was very active in the Boy Scouts when I was a boy. So it was extremely common to find me packing for a camping trip as our Boy Scout Troop camped once per month. I enjoyed being surrounded by Mother Nature to meditate in her awe-inspiring beauty. These trips allowed me to escape the troublesome topics of my childhood and let me contemplate conundrums as they arose. I would, of course, have everything resolved by the end of the weekend like a TV sitcom. 

At one of our Scout meetings, our leaders said we would be inviting our moms on a moms camping trip. The scoutmasters wanted the mothers to see what their sons did and how they lived on a camping trip. Our leaders advised us to share with our moms they would be staying in the camp lodge. They warned us the boys would be cooking one meal of foil dinners for the moms. How scary and exciting this adventure would be for our moms and us.

I suppose I was in my own little world as I packed, although others might simply say I was oblivious to everything. I had a camping preparation procedure making packing a very systematic endeavor and I knew every time a particular leader went camping with us, it was guaranteed to rain. Since this adult was going camping that weekend, bad packers would have to work with wet woes and by then, I had been in the scouts for several years and could not make errors like that so I had to stand out as a positive example for the new boys.

Mike’s mom was driving both of the mothers, Mike, and me, down to the camp for the weekend. When Mike and his mom Sandy showed up, I loaded my pack into the trunk and got into the car. When Sandy saw my mom’s overnight bag, she asked, “Where are your things like a sleeping bag and shower items?” My mom explained she did not need it because they were sleeping in a lodge. My mom was sent back inside to get at least a couple of blankets and towels, and although baffled and bewildered, she complied. Little did my mom know what chaos would ensue during the weekend.

As we arrived at the camp, Mike and I grabbed our gear full of sleeping bags, clothes, and other necessities. We then began our conventional campsite construction routine, looking for a spot to set up our patrol tents and box loaded with our patrol needs. There was a requirement to find the correct location for the campfire to avoid trees and eliminate the risk of a forest fire. We were genuinely unaware of the developing discord the mothers were contending. 

The mothers arrived to see the retired rickety Boy Scout first aid lodge, which seemed to be held up only by force of habit. This rundown leftover hospital lodge was where they would live for the next three challenging days and two arduous nights. The moms walked in to find some rusted old hospital-style beds complete with plastic-covered mattresses from the 1970s. There was a layer of thick green mold in the sink and a chunky coating of blue-green mold in the tub to complete this science experiment structure gone gross. The lodge also had running water because outside, it rained significantly; the roof was punctured severely, and the ceiling leaked profusely. This excessive rain caused a flowing stream in the middle of the temporary ramshackle residence.

It horrified my mom, as she was ill-prepared mentally or gear-wise to deal with this ludicrous lodging. Finally, the moms slept on top of the mattresses on the cement floor. This idea was questionable because the floor had a small stream from all the rain—no wonder the other mothers were smirking behind my mom’s back. Well, at least she brought a blanket and her pajamas but it would be an extremely long weekend.

Saturday night for dinner, the boys made foil dinners for the moms. These aluminum packets had a hamburger patty and cut veggies with sliced potatoes made a full meal for one. The boys salted the foil packs, sealed them tightly, and placed them on hot coals to cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Although they were getting used to their new sleeping quarters, no meal cleanup took the sting from the crummy conditions. The moms felt filled with pride to see their sons in their element, and later, they enjoyed the activities around the campfire as well.

The mom’s camp-out was fun for the moms and the sons alike as the boys were in their element. The boys got some unforgettable, memorable, and hilarious stories we can tell our friends and children for the rest of our lives. My mom was the best because she gave us a list of funny material that would last well into adulthood.

Trust but clarify and verify by questioning everything.

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