Monday, August 31, 2009

Sid Ordeal

Adam Rogers willingly drove the one winged Scoutmaster out to the Sid Richardson Ordeal of the Netopalis Sipo Schipinachk lodge this past Saturday. I have briefly explained the Order of the Arrow in the past and I am sure I will go in depth sometime, but today is not that day.

Adam has been one of my scouts since he was 16, when I was his chapter advisor. Along the way he became my friend and now is 28. Patrick Lang and I had the privilege to be his vigil guide a few years back. He noted on the way out, he probably owed me a ride.

Little Troop 5 had three boys going through the Ordeal. I need to at least show up and let them know there Scoutmaster knew it. Troop 5 Eagle Scout and ASM Zack Wisch is the Lodge Chief ; so a little show of support from his Scoutmaster might also be warranted.

I have been active in whatever the current incarnation of the Longhorn Council Lodge since 1997. My short visit not only included visiting the boys of Troop 5, but adult Arrowmen I have become friends with over the years. It is always good to see people who have the same love as scouting as you do. Let it be known that not everyone I have met in the Lodge since 1997 in enraptured by my charm, but at least we are cordial to each other, since at heart, we have the same goals.

The trip had three interesting highlights.

Randy Cox (Troop 43 Scoutmaster), Adam, and Charlie Kahlig (Troop 5 ASM) checked out the $32K Longhorn Council Viking Ship. It is a real interesting expense of Friends of Scouting funds, but I was a tad bit more impressed that I expected to be by the wooden vessel. Although my first attempt to get it for a Troop 5 weekend program failed miserably, I will make another attempt. It looks like fun.

My visit with the boys and adults of Troop 5 was enjoyable. The boys going through the Ordeal seem to be getting out of it what they wanted. I was encourage to see Phillip Pierce (Troop 5 ASM) covered in dust from folding tents all day for his Brotherhood Project. Phillip and Charlie both stepped up and served dinner to the 250 or so attended. It is always great to see Little Troop 5 have an impact. Zack did note that I had a good cover for my usual work avoidance with my cast.

The cool thing of weekend end was my visit with Kenny Crouch. Through the magic of Facebook I learned that an old scouting buddy from high school was going through his Ordeal. Kenny’s dad, Ltc. Bob Crouch is currently serving in Iraq. The Crouch Family lives in Copperas Cove, Texas. I think I met Kenny many years ago at a wedding or get together 12 years ago, but I am not sure. Zack searched the registration to get Kenny’s troop number and I began the hunt for Kenny.

I wandered around till I found a young man in Troop 253. I asked him if he knew a Kenny Crouch. I was given me a rather strange look and he said. “That’s me”. I shook his hand and told him I was a friend of his Dad from Heidelberg, in high school. It’s a crapshoot when you meet a 13 year old, they could clam up or they could chat. Kenny was excited that there someone who knew his dad was there; I did not have to carry the conversation. We discussed Scouting, his family and his Dad’s recent TV appearance. (I cannot find the link) I let him know his Dad and I were in the same lodge in High School and I expected to see both of them when his dad got back from Iraq at lodge events.

Scouting again was good to me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


It has been a tough week in my little house in Dalworthington Gardens and it has taken my blog muse. Carol lost a very dear friend from high school. This came on the heels of reconnecting with many of her friends before and during her High School reunion. Her facebook post last Wednesday says quite a bit:
I know that God has a plan and I know that I don't always understand it, but he took a very good man home today. (August 26, 2009) A very special person to me along with all his family. He was loved by everyone he knew and Ron Taylor will be very missed. Love ya Ron. – Carol Miller Shugart
Her loss has really put in perspective my sour mood about not doing the Hotter N’ Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls this weekend. This is the second time I have not done it since 1995 and it breaks a 12 year streak. As I look up and see its 77 degrees outside, it does not help. Nonetheless, my hand will heal and I will go next year. Carol will never get to see Ron again.

Life at time slaps you in the face and gives you perspective.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pain Free Weekend

Life is not nearly as interesting when you spend the weekend on pain medicines. In addition, Carol was up in Oklahoma at her high school reunion. I insisted she should go, because she was looking forward to the event. My son-in-law David told me that I could have just told Carol I did not want to go instead of breaking my thumb, but I digress.

My surgery on the thumb went well on Thursday. Tamara was a saint and took me to the hospital and waited with me. She spent a lot of time rolling her eyes as I attempted my brand of humor with the hospital staff, techs, nurses and doctors. I was successful most of the time, but Tamara has already seen my act way too much.

I had enough visitors and phone calls to address my extraverted nature in the house by myself. Most of the weekend was spent draining the DVR, reading the paper front to back, watching sports and reading. Although at times this was enjoyable, I was very pleased to have Carol home this evening.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dang Namb It.

I have not gotten into the story of why I call this blog, Bent Finger Chronicles, but as many of my friends have pointed out, I need to add Broken Thumb to the title.

I finally go in to see Dr. Charles Whittenburg yesterday. I will avoid all the discussion about health insurance, but let us just say - it is not efficient.

Dr. Whittenburg is member of the Orthopedic Center of Arlington. Apparently, all his years of medical training allowed him to read an x-ray much better than I did. Since I carried my x-rays from Oklahoma with me, I looked at them on the computer at home. It seems that my 4 hours of Biology of Animals at Texas Tech did not train me to be a radiologist.

The good doctor showed me were I “messed up my thumb real good” and scheduled surgery for me this Thursday to put a pin in my thumb to it will heal correctly.

Life is an adventure

Monday, August 10, 2009

DC Visit Summary

It has been a busy few days in Northern Virginia. Visits to three different Smithsonian museums, a Nationals Baseball Game, and plenty of family time.

My retrospective tour of life included a visit on my brothers back porch with Lou Novack and Nat McQueen. I have not seen Lou in 26 years although we communicated off and on for the past 15 years or so, but our paths have never crossed. It was wonderful to catch up. It was fun sharing old stories with high school and scouting buddies. Not to short change Nat, but he went to TCU and lived in Arlington until four years ago, so we had less to catch up on. Lou did have to tolerate college football talk.

It was good to see my whole family. My nephew Zach and I had much scouting talk. I have found a true kindred spirit in my niece Ashley. Her parents would have much to fear if I lived much closer. My brother has much to fear regardless, she is going be a handful as teenager.

My sister and her family arrived in time to go to the Nationals game. Her boys Joe and Hunter are quite spunky. Hunter and I had a good walk around the ball park discussing the things that are important to soon to be seven year old. Joe was not very talkative with his uncle as he was in his last visit, but committed to doing better the next time. Life can be hard at times when you are eight.

It was clear that my mother was enjoying having all her children in one location. My brother and I did our best to reminder of why she should not enjoy as much, but she was not deterred. My sister-in-law Dudley watched, pretty much her only choice, from the sidelines.

Fun was had by all in honor of my Dad’s 70th birthday celebration weekend. Someday I will have to delve into my relationship with my father, but I am very proud to be his son. He also enjoyed having his boys and daughter around. Rumor has it the elder Shugarts had a grand time. I’m going with that.

I am heading back to Texas tomorrow.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Arrived in Northen Virgina

The journey to the National capital was quite uneventful. I don’t fly that often, most of my travels are by car, so yes I looked like a vacationer trying to figure out all new digital check in procedures, but not like an idiot. Although I would like to note to the people designing maps for Washington Reagan Airport, put where the hell the Metro is on the damn map.

I was greeted at the Metro station in Franconia/Springfield by a much taller Zach Shugart. My nephew was able to spot my quickly based on my clothing choice. I broke out the collared shirt for the trip. I was still in backpacking shorts and Birkenstock sandals, but I was traveling so I had to dress up. All my collared casual shirts are from the Shirley Shugart Collection. So Zach was able to spot the taller rounder version of his father in a shirt that his grandmother would have bought for his Dad. He was instructed by his mother to help me carry my bags, but he correctly noted to her, “He’s a scoutmaster, he not going to have anything with him”.

It was a good day. Five Guys Burgers for lunch with Dudley (my sister-in-law) and my nephew. It also included a tour of the local bike shops looking for a cool Washington area cycling t-shirt. That was a failed adventure, but we did learn where Daniel Schneider, Redskins owner, bought all his bicycles for the team. A salesperson at Spokes Etc. told us that they were instructed the bikes could be any color by blue or silver.

Zach and I got caught up on scouting and I lost a game of Finger Football while waiting for his dad to come home and for his little sister’s dance recital. I have never gotten to see Ashley dance, so I was far more excited to go than Zach. I was able to spot her on stage quickly, from a distance she looks like my little sister at that age, but much more graceful. The recital included traditional, hip hop and tap. There could be a whole blog entry on the irony of watching a bunch of suburban Washington girls do hip hop, but let us move on. It was rather impressive to me to see how hard she works and the enjoyment of it she shared as she ate her Dairy Queen.

Today will bring my folks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Upcoming Weekend

Families are an interesting dynamic, but I am blessed to have a mother and father who tolerated their middle son. My mother insists I read the birth order book in the womb to insure I fully implemented it. I would like to note at the time, I did not know I was going to be the middle child as well. This is relevant because this upcoming weekend begins a long stretch of busy weekends that will not stop for a while. I am headed up to Northern Virginia to see all my family. I will report on the way, but it has been since 2007 since I’ve seen my brother’s family or my sister’s family. I am not real sure when the last time my mother had all her children in the same room. Watching Aeden grow exponentially in the past seven months, I expect much change in my three nephews and one niece in two years. It will be a brief visit, but a much needed one.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Swishers

I am apparently going through a retrospective phase of my life. I suppose this happens when you reach your forties. I am in the process of hunting people down that I knew 25 years ago. But sometimes opportunities fall in your lap. I got to spend time with the Swishers this weekend.

Butch Swisher was one of my scouting, high school buddies and friend till this day. I have done a lousy job over the years keeping track of many people from high school, but I have for some reason have kept track of Butch. For the rest of the internet audience that may be reading this he goes by Author now, but he will always be Butch.

I have teased Butch through the years and have called him Eeyore, with his rather interesting perspective on life, but he has remained a friend and not just a friend from 25 years ago.

Somewhere out there are pictures of Butch and me in Indian regalia preparing to perform an Order of the Arrow Ceremony. We inducted his little brother Michael to the Brotherhood in 1983. We were both delegates to the Model United Nations in High School. Luck would have it he would go to Texas Christian University so he has remained in North Texas since 1985. Since then we have played bad rounds of golf, many hours of video games, gone to football games, and random other events. As the years have gone by, we don’t see each other as much as we should, but we still communicate.

Carol and I went to McKinney on Saturday afternoon and got to visit the entire Swisher family. Col. Swisher and Dr. Sallie Swisher were visiting from Florida and were at Michael’s house in McKinney. We have not seen Butch’s parents since our wedding.

The matriarch of the Swisher Family, Dr. Swisher, was my second mom when I was in High School. The Swishers lived right across from the high school and we would spend many of lunch hours eating in her kitchen or as a weigh point on the way home. I always let myself in the Swisher home, with a quick knock and announce my presence. I would wander into the kitchen and visit with Mrs. Swisher before finding Butch. In retrospect, I have come to realized that the school pscyolisits that was Butch’s mom, doubled as my therapist. She was always asking questions of “Why do you feel that way? Or how does that make me feel?” She was always easy to talk to and still is to this day.

It was a glorious afternoon of sharing old stories and catching up to where our families our now. Times like this I have come to cherish.