Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Goat Man of Camp Tahuaya

Last week Jono and I attended four days of Webelos summer camp in Central Texas.  I actually sweated out one of my kidneys. 

[This path was part of the old Chisholm Trail. You could see wagon tracks carved into the limestone.]

His involvement with Cub Scouts has been on and off over the years. A year with this pack, a year off, a year with another pack, a year off.  He's getting the binary number merit badge based solely on his membership history.  Ba dump bump. But for the last year he has been with a good Webelos group and, after this camp, is quite close to getting the highest Cub Scout award possible: The Arrow of Light

There were lots of fun activities and the boys were able to advance by earning lots of pins, the Webelos equivalent to merit badges in Boy Scouts.  Here are some highlights of his fun:

[Canoeing was one of his favorite activities.  One day I took my own canoe out solo and, despite being an Eagle Scout myself, with the Canoeing merit badge no less, I managed to capsize it.  Pride comes before the fall. Fortunately, the digital camera in my pocket was in a zip lock bag.]

[This cave is where the Goat Man of Camp Tahuaya is rumored to live. We didn't actually see him, but we're pretty sure he rummaged through our gear and ate our snack bars. There were cigarette buts and goat hoof tracks in the dirt.]

[He was pretty upset when his first five shots missed the targets all together, but by the end of the week he was nailing the targets and even shot a bull's eye. He asked me why it was called a "bull's eye" anyway. I mumbled something about Greek mythology and the agro-economy of the nineteenth century until the archery instructor told me to be quiet.]

[They got to roast marshmallows on a fire that was so hot he had to crouch down to minimize his exposure. This in spite of the drought-induced burn ban in place. The camp staff said it's OK though, on account of special permission from firemen.]

 [Eating smores]

[Sleeping canoes]

[a cool bridge that clomped loudly when you walked across it]

[shooting BB guns]

[a lifeguard shortage meant Jono didn't get to swim nearly as much as he wanted to]

[Learning how to throw a life saver]

[ahh, the simple joys of playing Uno to the light of a propane lantern - watch out for June bugs]

Jono was quite content to hang out with me most of the time. He didn't know the other boys who attended very well. He didn't share their boy tents, but instead shared mine. We had matching cots and plastic trunks for our gear. As we walked along the paths that separated the camp stations, he would tell me he was glad I was there, or that he loved me. At night we would review the favorite parts of our day and look at the stars while speculating about black holes and galaxies and such. We did almost everything together for four days, and our relationship grew tremendously. It was definitely worth the kidney.


Redlefty said...

Just popping in to say I've really loved your recent posts about how well you're connecting with the boys. Priceless stuff, and memories they'll carry forever. Great job!

(I'm moving, selling/buying a home, taking a new job... so very out of touch, but will be back to follow along and write blogs of my own at some point)

Anonymous said...

I'm a reporter for the Temple Daily Telegram working on a fun story about Goat Man for Monday's paper. I stumbled upon your blog this week and would like to talk to you briefly. Will you please email me?