Scouting Is Fun With A Spiffy New Uniform And A Cool Knife


The grandkids have signed up for scouting. Back in the day, Orion would’ve joined Boy Scouts and Tess would’ve joined Girl Scouts, but now they can both be in the same troop, which, more than anything else, means a lot less driving for their parents. Yay!

They’ve been scouts for about a month now and have already gone to the planetarium, participated in a campout, soaked up a presentation on knife handling and made short work of a Thanksgiving feast. The three of them have had a blast. Three? Oh, yes. Papa is having as much fun as the kids.

Mama is enjoying it, too, as she has told papa, “This was your idea. This is your thing.” So, while the three scouts are off tramping through the woods, back at home laundry is getting done, pies are getting baked and goals are being accomplished.

And, while papa proudly wears his polo shirt with the scouting emblem, the kids are decked out to the nines. Orion has the slacks, shirt, neckerchief, neckerchief slide and my late brother’s Boy Scout belt, and completed with a knife. Well, it’s not a knife so much as a handyman tool, but it’s a handyman tool that includes a knife!

Tess is wearing whatever was available online, which includes an outfit in Cub Scout blue rather than Girl Scout green. She’s got the shirt (where my daughter cut off the word Boy before stitching on Scouts of America), the neckerchief (which Tess insists is her “handkerchief”), a pair of “skorts” (which her papa misinterprets as “snorts”) and a cool pair of leggings with the scouting emblem all over them.

The kids are beyond happy. The troop leader is beyond happy, too, because fundraising is absolutely necessary when you need to pay admission at the planetarium, reserve campsites, buy turkeys and hire knife handling experts, and these new scouts were bringing something to the table — years of experience running lemonade stands.

So, last weekend, the new recruits were plopped down in front of Lowe’s with a table, a banner and a pile of merchandise — trash bags, leaf bags and coffee beans.

“Now, scouts,” their leader told them. “Yesterday, we were here for four hours and set a new pack record with $1,700 in sales. We don’t expect you to be able to match that, but do the best you can.”

Four and a half hours later, they had sold out of everything with $2,600 in sales. When they ran out of merchandise, people began making donations!

“We were going to sell the table but papa said no,” Orion told me. “I could’ve made another $40 for it.”

How did they do it? I’ll tell you how they did it. When Grandpa and I pulled up, I said, “Hide the car behind another car. Let’s surprise them.” It didn’t work. Orion had already seen us and was waving. I soon realized it wasn’t just us — he was constantly scanning the horizon for potential customers, waving in a friendly fashion to them all. As we approached the store, he blocked our path with a smile and diverted us to the table where Tess launched into her sales pitch, pointing to each item, describing its use and telling us the price. Every third customer was buying something. If they didn’t, they said they’d stop by on the way out.

I own an antiques store but I’m thinking of switching to trash bags, leaf bags and coffee. The kids’ sales were better than mine. And now I know where to find staff!