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I’m no Boy Scout

Eight-year-old Rosalie and 10-year-old Nathaniel added their artistic touches to the outdoor community art project during the two-day Callicoon Art Walk last Sunday.
TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox

October 12, 2016

My father didn’t want me to join the Scouts. I’d like to say that I don’t know why, but while eavesdropping, he made it clear that he did not want me to start with the Cub Scouts because (at that time) the packs were led by women known as “den mothers,” and he felt that my own mother already had too much influence over me. Instead, I was packed off to the YMCA, which was all male. Dad was determined to “make a man out of me or die trying,” which ultimately came to fruition more than 40 years ago.

Today, the Cub Scouts call den mothers “den leaders,” as men also take on this role (www.oureverydaylife.com), but we’ll never know whether that would have satisfied dear old Dad. Ultimately, it’s the code of ethics for either organization, which is (IMHO) important, and so far I’ve managed (with exceptions) to stay the course. The famous motto “Bee Prepared” [sic] rang in my head as Dharma the Wonder Dog and I prepared for the Honeybee Fest (www.narrowsburghoney beefest.com) and The River Reporter photo booth to which I alluded last week. Pondering “Scout Law,” I wondered whether I would pass muster. Am I trustworthy? Loyal? What about “helpful, friendly, courteous and kind?” “I hope so,” I wheezed to my sidekick. “We both know that ‘obedient’ is not my strong suit, nor yours,” I rasped, wagging a nicotine-stained finger in her direction, “but let’s both shoot for ‘cheerful’ and see how that flies.”

Constantly forced to be thrifty, I’m often flummoxed regarding her wardrobe, but thankfully, have pals who come to the rescue. TRR’s own Eileen Hennessy volunteered to secure a honeybee outfit for the dog, which was adorable, and since scads of visitors to our booth wanted to see the pup, she was dressed for success. Just when I thought I’d seen everything in the Upper Delaware River region, the buzz around the festival had been palpable, and as excitement built over the organizers’ attempt to make history (www.guinnessworldrecords.com) in their quest to have the most people dressed as bees in one place at one time, Dharma was crestfallen when we learned that dogs (there were a bunch!) dressed-up would not count, even though she had the requisite stripes, wings and antennae. “Maybe we should try for the most people dressed as dogs,” I suggested “and host a festival of our own.”