Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Scouts+West Side Story=Free Night Out for Me and Mrs. P
Scouts+West Side Story=Free Night Out for Me and Mrs. P
Mon, 9 Nov 1998 14:46:19 -0500
What follows is what I wrote that got me two free tickets to "West Side Story"
for last night from one of the local advice columnists. Guess it stood out
among the stories others sent about racial harmony and such. I gave it to Doug
Gentry to put on the Philmont list just to add to their apocryphal stories of
the place, but saved it for Scouts-L and Jambo'01 so that you could see the
entire story instead of the little snippet the Sun-Times used in the article
that was finally published. And yes, only I, who at one time had my wife
prepared to accept the name "Phillip Montgomery" so son #3 would have the
nickname "Phil Mont" (it didn't stick, though), can connect something like
West Side Story to Philmont.
I guess this is now copyrighted by the Chicago Sun-Times, at least the chunk
As a Scoutmaster in a small, safe, suburban community, I had a number of youth
members who attended a local Catholic school. The music teacher there seemed
to teach them the songs from a different musical each year. For 1993-1994 it
was West Side Story.
The summer of 1994 I took them on a backpacking trip to New Mexico in June.
Straight out of school, they were still in the mode of remembering things like
those song lyrics. So among bears, turkeys, elk, mountain lions, antelope and
more, at altitudes from 6,000 feet up to 9- or 10,000 while hiking 50 miles in
10 days, I had a small part of this group which would sing songs from the
musical and even do little dance steps up the side of a mountain with full
packs (while a couple of us adults were barely keeping up - and even falling
behind - after we passed, oh, 6050 ft.)
They sang while they hiked. They sang while they worked. Eventually, it got to
the point where all we had to do to get their attention when they were out of
our campsite was yell "MARIA" at the top of our lungs. A small thing that
would eventually embarrass me.
Because in July the Troop went to summer camp. Part of the camp program was a
hike in a bog in northern Wisconsin to learn about how it exists and see the
plants that grow there. I personally skipped the bog hike in favor of getting
pictures of the hikers when they climbed out.
However, I needed to locate just where they were in the hike and how far I was
from where they would come out. So I started the little coded yell we'd
developed and was yelling "MARIA" hoping one of them would answer when they
heard me and call out so I could locate them. Unfortunately, they were the
second of two groups in the bog, and I didn't know that. Until a female Scout
leader named Maria came up the hill from the lake, covered with mud and muck
from head to toe, and asked why I was calling for her.