Monday, June 13, 2005

Dang! That was great.

I just returned from a week in the woods with my son, Matthew, and the Boy Scouts of America. It wasn't annual summer camp, but a troop outing which combined three different activities.

On days one and two: we back-packed a short segment of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, camping overnight on a mountain top and enjoying a thunderstorm unfold below us.

Day three: we did some whitewater rafting in one and two-man inflatable kayaks in the Nantahala River Gorge.

Days four through seven: we canoed the length of Fontana lake, camping on islands along the way.

Best moment: On the last night of the outing, our small group of campers were gathered around the campfire. Our party included an eleven-year-old South Korean boy working on his American citizenship and a thirteen-year-old Mexican boy here with papers.

Both boys are outstanding Scouts: never complaining, always carrying their load, always helpful and with a good attitude.

One of the American boys starts shooting off his mouth. "I'm glad I live here in the United States. You know why? 'Cause we're the greatest country in the world. After all, we've got all the nukes! If someone picks on us, we fire off our missiles and everyone gets blown-up but us."

Four different adult leaders are descending at the same moment to quietly take the young loudmouth aside for a talk when the Mexican boy calmly turns around and asks: "Just when do you plan to grow up a little, anyway?"