Birthday and Campout



We celebrated Mike’s birthday with the usual festivities plus a camp fire and twelve or so Boy Scouts. David and Paul invited their patrols to camp on our property and I decided it was close enough to Mike’s actual birthday to combine the two events. We had to get Mike to open his gifts right away because we gave him a set of marshmallow and hot dog roasters, which we knew he would immediately share with the rest of us. He also received three Boy Scout themed movies which would provide entertainment for all in the heat of the day on Saturday. In addition, I gave him a how-to book about building tree houses and the boys gave him a Dogbert comic book, to cheer him up during the long afternoons at work. We had mostly younger scouts at this campout and I hope I may be forgiven if I say they were so sweet and cute! One of them put a bow on his forehead and told Mike he was his birthday present- a new son! 


David’s patrol brought a cake and I made a homemade pound cake to look like a campfire. We rounded that off with S’mores and plain old burnt marshmallows. We sang happy birthday over each cake. The bakery cake had trick candles, since we celebrated on April Fool’s day, and the log cake had sparklers which were shaped into a 42. Hopesie is not crying because she is afraid of the sparklers, rather because we would not let her hold them. 


Hope has not yet acquired a fear of fire. She wanted to run around the fire pit like a wild thing and thought we were party poopers when we insisted she keep a safe distance.  Jonathan entertained us with an act called “Dancing with Marshmallows”. David sat on an unsuspecting S’more, thereby violating the scout dress code, and failing to be conservation minded.


After the crowd had their fill of sugar, 


the scouts retired several flags. Did you ever wonder what happens to a flag when it gets too worn out to be displayed? Boy Scout troops throughout the nation cremate them with all due respect. 


They had a Rubbermaid tote packed full of retired flags and the scouts did the honors for quite a few. My crew stayed up hours past their usual bedtimes, until they finally begged me to tuck them in. I don’t think that has ever happened before. 


After the scouts were tucked in we heard them talking in their tents, beneath our bedroom window, for about thirty minutes after we went to bed ourselves. Thankfully the night passed uneventfully. Breakfast was on time. One patrol had “scout sandwiches” (peanut butter sandwiches dipped in eggs and fried like French toast) and the other patrol had blueberry chocolate chip pancakes. They even made a plate of pancakes for the Scoutmaster. 


The rest of the morning the scouts learned useful skills such as how to chop a tree up without a trip to the emergency room, how to go airborne in the tire swing, and how to identify the weight limit of the zip line. They did not learn how to repair the zip line once the weight limit was discovered, but we want to save something for next time. I appreciate how the older scouts teach the younger ones and how the older ones, who can sometimes be burdened by their own “coolness”, can still drop the macho and play like boys. 



After lunch, the heat compelled the boys to come inside for the matinee. Today’s show was Follow Me, Boys!, an old boy scout classic. During and after the movie, Mike met on the porch for scoutmaster conferences with scouts who were ready for one. Hope made sure the conferences were semi-public by spying on the meetings from the living room, tapping on the window and calling, “Daddy! Hi, Daddy!”. 



Mike said his birthday was just perfect, filled with all the things he enjoys most. He is lucky that he didn’t get any of the April Fool’s pranks the rest of us endured. Some of us were awakened with water down the neck, and/or found the kitchen spray nozzle bound with rubber bands so the first one to use it would be doused, and some of us were not laughing. The big boys were planning to sprinkle glitter in Mike’s hat, which he would not discover until he was sparkly at work, but I talked them out of that one. That might have ruined the party atmosphere, don’t you think? 

© Being Fruitful, 2012