scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: A Heartwarmer
Tue Feb 29 2000 - 10:02:06 CST
I am on a list called "Heartwarmers" They send me an e-mail every
This is today's entry and I thought that it was very appropriate for here.
* An Award Winning Heartwarmer *
They mocked him as he rode by on his bicycle.
Their stinging words burned in Billy's heart as he fought back his
tears. Soon he'd be home and far away from his tormenters.
Billy was born of alcoholic parents in a small coastal village of
Maine. Doctors concluded he and his siblings would reap the harvest of
his parent's indulgence. He was a slow learner and plagued with stuttering
and a slow drool.
Lack of hygiene at home kept most people at a respectable distance.
Billy had a kind heart, but he had a very low self-esteem especially
when confronted by his peers. I was Billy's only friend during childhood.
We lived only a short distance from each other, so it was natural
we found ourselves running through the woods or swimming under the bridge
during the summer months. Billy joined the Boy Scouts with me when we
I arrived in my uniform, but Billy arrived in his tattered and
dirty clothes. His parents couldn't afford to give him new clothes, and a Boy
Scout uniform didn't fit into their drinking budget.
My dad saw his plight, so he rummaged through some packed clothing
and came back with my older brother's uniform. It didn't fit very well, but
after a few alterations it became respectable.
I felt his anguish during our first Boy Scout meeting. A couple of
boys behind us snickered "bugsy-wugsy", "dumbo mumbo" and other such
When we were dismissed from formation, Billy and I were assigned to
the Wolf Patrol. We opened the flexible covers of our new Boy Scout
handbooks with an eagerness to see what adventures lay before us. I
read the introduction, and Billy looked at the pictures.
As the weeks passed, Billy became more discouraged. Because of his
learning disability, it would be difficult for him to continue in Boy
Scouts. The jeering by peers continued outside the meeting hall, but it
was his inability to read and comprehend which would become his
Billy and I watched my dad pulling on the mooring ropes of the
boat. We gave him a hand, and Billy grabbed the loose end and tied it around
the tree. My dad looked up.
"Where did you learn to tie a knot like that, Billy? I'm all
thumbs with knots."
Billy took that as a compliment. With a smile on his face, he
stuttered his response. "I... I... I've got lotsssss of time on my
My dad's eyes lit up, and I could visualize his brain gears
Over the next weeks, Dad worked with both of us from the Boy Scout
handbook so we could pass our requirements for Tenderfoot.
What Billy couldn't read, he was finally able to memorize after
repeated drilling by my dad. In turn, Billy showed my dad how to tie
knots and splice rope ends.
Billy's moment came during our awards banquet that fall. The troop
scoutmaster congratulated Billy for his achievement. Then he offered a
shock to the entire assembly of Boy Scouts and parents.
With his hand upon Billy's shoulder, he announced, "Billy is my
Number One Scout for knot tying. From this night on, no one passes the
requirements for knot tying and rope work unless Billy qualifies you."
A tear began to trickle from the corner of Billy's eye as he stood
there, proud and smiling, and a few onlookers cleared their noses during
his moment of triumph.
-- Ern Grover <email@example.com>
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