Tuesday, April 08, 2008

confessions of a girl scout

I was a pretty good little girl scout when I was a kid. So what , you say. Well, the fact that I was, and still am, of the male persuasion would normally preclude my being a member of the girl scouts. But since I had two older sisters and a mother who was their girl scout leader, I, by being the youngest sibling, had no choice but to tag along on many of their girl scout activities. I guess I was sort of the troop mascot.

I spent more time at girl scout camp than many girls. Whenever my mother’s troop would head to the woods for some overnight, back-to-nature scouting activity, I got to go along, since I was too young to stay home alone. Dad was always working, driving truck, and he wasn’t exactly Mr. Mom anyway, so, by default, I became a girl scout. Mind you, I’m not complaining. There were some distinct advantages to the situation.

It would probably be helpful to set the time frame for that phase of my life. During my advenures as a girl scout I was aged five to around eight or nine. Furthermore, we’re talking back in the fifties, a more innocent time according to most observers of recent history. Innocent in that as children back then, we were not bombarded with the life lessons that constant media exposure inflicts on today’s children. Nowadays most three-year-olds have, not just a grasp of anatomical differences, but the necessary nomenclature to apply to those parts that make girls and boys girls and boys. Back then the words penis and vagina were not even thought in polite company, let alone actually uttered loud enough for anyone to hear. So, of course, my innocence about the differences between genders was profound, but not unusual.

So, getting back to my girl scouting days with that innocence as background, I found some interesting ways to explore the differences between those girls and me, not quite knowing what I was going to find, but knowing that I had to find it. You’re probably thinking that with two older sisters I would have, at least accidently, found out a bit more than someone with only imagination to inform him, but I was either totally unobservent or my sisters exceptionally modest. With a bow to family privacy, we’ll assume modesty to be the vehicle of my ignorance. That’s why those girl scouts were so important to my edification about the mysteries of femaleness.

We, my girl scout troop and I, went to the campground fairly frequently during the summer months and I got to know that girl scout camp like the back of my hand. I spent a lot of time exploring and learning all the short cuts and interesting side trails as well as the hiding places so treasured by little boys. I was left alone much of the time with the only instructions being not to leave the camp environs. So I had plenty of time to scout out the best locations for the spy games and sneak attacks that fueled my imagination.

Of course, all my time at girl scout camp was not spent sneaking around and spying on people. The majority of the time I could be found down by the river that formed the western boundary of the camp chasing frogs and fishing with a cane pole off the bridge that spanned the dam which created the pond that teemed with all those fish and frogs. Muddy shoes and filthy jeans were the uniform I wore everyday. I learned to build a campfire and to start it burning using one match and the right kind and amount of kindling. I knew all the words to all the favorite girl scout campfire songs and, yes, joined in enthusiastically on all the verses of MIchael Row the Boat Ashore. Soulful renditions of Kumbaya were a mainstay of every campfire. And I loved it all.

...to be continued.....

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