"...Only When I Feel Like It,..."
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Tue, 5 Sep 1995 17:23:34 -0500
(From "Patches and Pins" (or "The Quest for the Silver Beaver...."),
by Mike Walton (c) 1988)
"...Only When I Feel Like It,..."
One of the most endearing promises I've made to myself was to "keep the
Scout Promise". I have always called it the "Scout Promise", although it is
the "Scout Oath (or Promise)" as listed in the official BSA books and manuals
over the years.
For those that are not aware of this statement of fact, which that's what the
Scout Oath....Promise...is, here's the official text:
On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country
obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times; (and)
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
As a Boy Scout, I and just about every other kid out there always added that
"and" between "To help other people at all times" and "To keep myself
strong...." It's not supposed to be there, but it just "sounds right".
But I'll be honest with you. I have problems with that "To help other
people at all
times" line. It has really gotten me into a lot of trouble.
I KNOW that the intent of that part of the Promise is to remind you every
your sincere obligation to serve and be of service to others. To tell your
there's lots of ways that you can assist and "be useful". But no matter
what I do to
make myself feel that I'm doing the right thing, it STILL gets me into
SOMEBODY out there that doesn't understand that
"I've *got to do it*. I've promised!"
And the worst of it is, you're *really not supposed to tell anyone* what you've
done to of be of help to someone else...so, there's a lot of "I was just
a convienent lie but not the truth.
Like this morning, for instance. I was late for formation before class. I
know that I
must get into my van, drive across a small connector road to Walton Way, go
two blocks and make a right onto the connector to the expressway, drive down
expressway three exits to Gordon Highway, and then drive down Gordon Highway to
Gate Five and two blocks over to the 552nd Signal Battalion (Training)'s
Get out of the car, walk over to the backside of the building and stand
everyone's there and accounted for before going into the classroom.
A fourty-five minute drive under "regular driving conditions" for Augusta,
Longer if it's like this morning, rainy and wet and nasty.
I am attending the Army's Signal Officer Advanced Course, the "qualifying
my future as an Army Signal Officer. Those that don't complete the course,
onward to become the Army's leaders in communications, electronics or
They end up leaving the service alltogether and end up working at Bi-Low (a
chain) or for the city or something. I don't know.
I don't want to even *think* about that; I am *very close* to joining them
can't "be there on time".
I was too busy "helping other people". Like the time that I stood in the
rain for twenty-
three minutes changing a tire for a family from Ohio. I noticed the license
plate as I
passed -- no, zipped -- by them trying to do it themselves. I got off the
Bobby Jones at
the next exit, backtracked, and pulled up a safe distance away to keep my
They had the wrong kind of jack to take the lugnuts off, so I had to fish
for mine. They
made me late.
They also made me smile, as the mother, trying to figure out how they were
going to get
back, was conforted by the fact that "a Armyman is going to change our tire",
according to her oldest child, five.
And no matter how I "prettied it up", when I stood in front of Major Weems,
evaluator/coach, it all sounded lame. I guess I wasn't as good as "pumping
up the truth"
as I should have been. After all, others got away with going to "Hotlanta"
or the beach for
"You want to be a Company Commander?", Major Weems looked into my eyes. "I've
already been a Commander, sir", I responded.
"You want to REMAIN in the Army? I can make it really easy for you, Mike!"
"Yes sir," I replied.
"You will have to do something about this tardiness. I realize that you're
doing all of this
stuff for others, but you're going to have to forget that Scout stuff and
concentrate on what
you're here for!".
"I will, sir", I said as he waved his hand for me to leave his office.
So, on the way in this morning, with WBBM on the radio, with my windshield
running, and with my lights on, I started out *even earlier*, to show
Major Weems, that I can get there *on time* and even earlier.
I didn't get very far. I first noticed the car, with its headend in the
ditch when I passed it by.
The engine was still running. The wipers were still moving, but it looked
as if someone kicked it in a fit of rage into that deep ravine.
I slowed down to see if anyone else would stop and help. No red brake lamps
lit as I moved
onward down the road, moving a little slower. "It's not your problem,
Mike", I said aloud to
myself, "Someone will help them." I then noticed that in my zeal to get
out of the door and
to the van and to the post, that I had left my physical training gear behind
on the front porch.
I turned around at the intersection with Walton Way, one of the major
east-west roads in
Augusta (and which has nothing to do with my family) and trolled back toward
Passing the car, I then saw something that frightened me.
There was someone IN that car!
I pulled off the two lane road into the driveway of someone's home, took out
band portable, and plugged it into the cigarette lighter. I then called for
help on Channel
nine, the universal "emergency channel". I then ran back to my apartment,
grabbed my gear
and two additional towels, and ran back to that car (I got my physical
training in for the day
for sure!). I yelled into the car "Are you Alright?? I've called for the
"Can you help me get out of here?" was the weak response. Then the door
opened, and I
found myself looking at a crying Wilma, shaking from head to toe. "I don't
happened! I was turning the channel on the radio.....and NOBODY came by
even to see if I
was alright. Nobody!!" With her assistance, I got Wilma out of her car,
had her to stand
beside the car and then turned the car's engine off. It kept going for
another few momments
before it finally stopped.
The police came, took her report, and in the middle of asking where Wilma
"Officer, I know you're not supposed to do this, but can you PLEASE call my
unit up and
tell them what's going on. If I'm late for work one more time, I'll get
drummed out of this
The officer looked at me, then at the woman still shaking even under the
woolen blanket I
had provided her and the cup of coffee the policeman offered her, and
replied "I don't have
a problem doing that. Write down the number and the name of your CO and
I'll call them
He did what he said, and I took Wilma to her work at the Travelers'
field office ("At least you've got good insurance!", I tried to kid her
with; she didn't get it I
guess) and then I drove to work. Two weeks later, Wilma called me at home
and thanked me
for what I did for her. "I hope I didn't get you into any trouble with your
"I had to do it", I told her, my Amanda leaning against my leg as she had
moved herself to
the kitchen and her daddy on the "downstairs phone". "I'm a Boy Scout
leader, and we're
supposed to help other people all of the time, not just when we feel like
it. I'm just glad you
were okay...your car was a mess!" She laughed and replied, "A Boy Scout
"Yep. I'm not a Scoutmaster or something, just a volunteer...but that's
something that I don't
mess around with."
It's been times like that one that people fail to understand: The promise I
made to myself,
and that I continually raise my hand in the Scout Sign and repeatly promise,
"When I feel like it". I'm saying that I will "help other people at all
Even if it gets me into trouble or cause me to be late. What makes a Scout
a Scout is the fact
that he or she tries to be of service and to provide that example to others.
You can't try to do something if you don't *attempt* it.
Someone told me "You'll get yourself killed one of these days, helping
someone". I replied "I don't know of anyone that has been shot for making
an emergency phone call for someone else, broken down on the roadway."
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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