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Tuesday, July 12, 2005 

My first Camping trip to Mt. Snagley

I was a miserable cub scout. By that I mean that I was bored to tears with the weekly meeting. I did not want to make paper airplanes, eat cookies and drink cool-aid. I wanted to go camping. I told this to the Den Mother Ms. Long. She said she would look into it. She finally talked Henry Lackey, one of the Dads, into taking us camping. As fate would have it, He managed to scrape together some out of town business at the last minute and escaped his duty as camp leader. Mrs. Long said she would be unable to take us camping and we would have to wait until one of our fathers would be able to take us on an outing.
I knew it would be months before one of the mothers would be able to browbeat her husband into taking the Cub Scouts camping. Most fathers do not look forward to taking eight, nine-year-old kids camping.

Ms. Long’s husband had been killed in an automobile accident when her son Luther was a baby. She always pronounced his name Loothur; this provided the rest of us cubs with a great amount of pleasure, as we were prone to antagonizing each other to no end.
Ms. Long was one of those southern single women in her mid 30s who wanted a husband desperately but would never admit it. She did have a suitor, Mr. Tiddle.

Mr. Tiddle was a tall robust man. He was known locally as insane. He was prone to running up and down the dirt road in front of our house every morning, dressed in what appeared to be boxer shorts and a sleeveless shirt. Exercise was unheard of in the early 1970’s in rural Alabama, so we did not know what to make of this. But the craziest thing was that every January on the first day of the year he would put on his swimsuit and swim across the lake in the frigid waters of lake Snagley. He would recommend it as therapy for all the local farmers, most of which said if they ever ran low on misery they would give it a try. Mr. Tiddle also, as fate would have it, was the scoutmaster of the local Boy Scout troop.

We were sitting in Ms. Longs living room eating cookies and drinking cool-aid when Mr. Tiddle Burst in. He announced that he was inviting the local Cub Scout den to join the boy scouts in a campout that weekend. We all cheered and rushed Mr. Tiddle to express our gratitude.

That weekend we arrived at Ms. Longs house awaiting the arrival of Mr. Tiddle and the rest of the boy scouts. Shortly a pickup truck pulled up and out popped Mr. Tiddle. He loaded our packs into the truck and saluted us. Then he introduced us to two boy scouts. Their names escape me at the moment so I will refer to them as Attila and Adolph. He told us that we would be practicing our hiking skills the 6 miles up to Mount Snagley.

I raised my hand and said that i would be right back i had a piano lesson and could not miss it. Attila roared for me to get back in line there would be no Desertions.
There was a group moan. Attila and Adolph assumed their roll as marine drill instructors and began the battan death march out of town and up the mountain.

6 hours latter eight small blue clad cub scouts oozed into camp. Our tents were set up and a fire was going. We dug through out packs for our jackets, and huddled around the fire. I looked at Luther and asked are we camping yet. Luther began to plot our revenge for the forced march. Luther said whatever we do need to be simple but mean. He suggested stealing their clothes and making them run around naked and catch pneumonia so that they would die slowly. I said that sounded good but our chances of getting them out of their clothes was about the same as me walking back down that mountain in the morning.

Soon Mr. Tiddle set us up with some hot dogs to roast over the fire and we sang some songs and burned some marshmallows. Things were taking shape. I decided I would not go awol from the cub scouts after all.

Then Mr. Tiddle announced that he was going swimming in the creek.

TO be continued.

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