Monday, May 16, 2011

Turkeys and Eagles, Socks and Knots

Effie Yeaw Nature Center, being a nature center, is subject to nature.  Therefore we arrived at the amphitheater a couple of hours early to clean the benches and the deck as well as do a little bit of setting up - refreshment table and picture table. Some of the local residents came by to check up on us. What a bunch of turkeys! A good of the required clean up was because they, too, enjoy gathering at the amphitheater.

Sorry, I cannot seem to do pictures on my blog right now.  Check out my Facebook album  "Benjamin Robarts Eagle Scout Court of Honor"

The Court of Honor was a pleasant blend of (well deserved) praise for Benjamin, tribute to Scouting, and fun - fond fun memories of Benjamin and of Scouting.  If by any chance the audience became bored with the proceedings (which I doubt), they were entertained by passing turkeys and deer. 

Our Emcee was Logan Hancock, Eagle Scout and former Senior Patrol Leader

The 11 Year Old Scouts did opening and closing flag.  Through some slight mishap, the flag pole stands were in a car headed in another direction, but they wouldn't have held up during the breeze anyway.  A pair of Eagles went behind the deck during flag and secured the poles to the deck railing with bungees.  It was handled so smoothly and respectfully, one would think it the original plan.  The young Scouts presented the flag in a very respectful and dignified manner.

Ethan Foell, current Senior Patrol Leader, lead the Scout Oath and Law.

I noticed when the Eagles in the audience were recognized that they were all young men.  None of the leaders present who had been so instrumental in helping these boys grow were themselves Eagle Scouts.  I thought how wonderful it is of them to give so much time and dedication to help boys achieve what they had not had the privilege to. To a man, I would say that each of them have Eagle spirit and character.  Even more than Eagles, they are true disciples of Christ who willing serve His sheep. 

As at least one of the speakers, Don Farrimond whose assignment was "100 Scouts" reminded us, Scouting touches boys for the better and influences their lives for good even if they do not make the rank of Eagle.

Riley, another Eagle and former Senior Patrol leader shared some Scouting memories, but he was not the only one.  Whatever the assignment was except for flag, prayer, and oath and law, each program participant added their personal admiration for Benjamin.  It was touching and heart swelling to hear so many men and young men extolling Benjamin.  His cheerfulness, dependability and can-do spirit were spoken of again and again. As well as some of his adventures.  His first week-long camp when he wore the same pair of socks ALL week was fondly(?) remembered.  As well as the Battle of the Racoons one night in his tent at Point Reyes.  And his skill at knots.  (Pioneering was his first and favorite merit badge.) 

Andrew, brother, Eagle Scout and newly returned missionary, issued the Eagle challenge, reminding Benjamin to BE an Eagle all his life. Also, referring to his knot tying skills, he said something like, "No more knots to tie.  Well, maybe ONE." which got a good laugh.

Benjamin chose to honor Greg Foell with the mentor pin for his life long example and particularly for the role he played in Benjamin's life as Teacher Quorum Adviser.  (14-15 year old boys)  One lesson Benjamin particularly appreciated learning from him was to look people in the eye.

In a highlight of the program Ray Hamaker led the old Troop 40 song which has great memories and meaning for many of the boys.  Then he led us in the adaption making it the Troop 941 song:
"We put the out in Scouting and we'll continue shouting, 'We are the spirit of 941!'
Roll out the Scouting thunder! (clap) We'll win, we won't go under.
We are the spirit of 941!
We welcome all the boys and all their hopes and joys.
We put the light of the Scouting torch on high.
Roll out the Scouting thunder! (clap) We'll win, we won't go under.
We are the spirit of 941!"

We hope that 941 adopts it and some of the spirit we felt in Troop 40.  Hopefully, Benjamin's 11 year olds, at least, will pick it up.

I also hope that Benjamin's example will help strengthen other young men on their trail to Eagle.

I am so grateful for the Scouting program.  I think Boy Scouts of America is great!

Friday, May 13, 2011

What did you dream last night?

I seldom dream or, if I dream, I don't remember it.

Last night I dreamed twice.

I dreamed that a friend spent all evening giving me a pedicure.
I have never had a pedicure, although I have thought it might be nice. Where did this come from? Well, one toe is a little sore from me clipping a nail too close. My daughter--in-law recently had her first pedicure and was showing off her pretty toes. The friend is involved in Benjamin's Eagle Court of Honor tomorrow which is occupying my mind quite a bit. Why I picked him I have no idea. I really doubt that he gives pedicures. It would be nice if he gave his lovely wife a pedicure - or at least massaged her feet now and then. Dreams are

I woke up in the night and had trouble going back to sleep. When I finally did, it was a bit of a nightmare and I believed it at first of course. It was raining. My roof has been torn off and water was dripping from the ceiling which wasn't looking too good on to my bed. It took quite a while for me to realize that I was not in my own bed or even in my own room. I was in a room I hadn't slept in for years and it was the old color before we painted it. oh, good! this isn't real!

What is real is that our house is being re-roofed and this has been tear-off week. It has been really good roofing weather, but rain is predicted this weekend. Not Saturday, thankfully! but possibly Saturday night and Sunday. I have been concerned about the house. My contractor, Lucio owner and sole employee of D Design Build, assures me that it will be ok unless we get major deluge. He expects to have the board covering the "ribs" of the roof in place and the roofing paper over it.

Do you remember your dreams?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Welcome Home

Why was I so nervous Friday as we drove to the airport to pick up Andrew Elder Robarts?  We were in plenty of time to find a parking place and the right terminal and all that.  Picnic food was ready and waiting at home to be traded for the suitcases we would soon have in the trunk. There was no doubt that we would recognize each other.  I don’t know.  But I was nervous.

Andrew’s dad was already there waiting.  The flight was on schedule. Our former Bishop, the one who sent Andrew out, came to the airport. I began to worry that his sisters wouldn’t make it as planned – especially as the arrival time passed.  But it takes a couple of minutes to get everything settled and deplane.  The girls and kids arrived minutes before the passengers came down the escalator.  Esther and Jared had a “Welcome Home Uncle Andrew” sign that Esther had made.  They stood in front holding their sign, then the sisters, then Dad, Bishop, and Joseph and I holding a Welcome Home Elder Robarts sign for him to run through. (Not pretty like Esther’s sign)  

I chatted with the family of another Elder coming home (to Merced or is it Modesto? I keep forgetting) from the Canada Winnipeg Mission.  We had a nice conversation.  The Dad was quite friendly and talkative which seemed to embarrass his daughters.  “She doesn’t want to hear about that!” they said.  It was all very interesting, but I hardly remember a word.   I just know that he is very proud of his kids and has had some good experiences with them.  

We knew our missionaries would be among the last because they would politely wait for the other passengers around them.

And there he was!  Hugs all around!  He looks great.  He seems taller.  More hugs for Mom!

On the drive home, Andrew Elder Robarts kept exclaiming about how green it is here and how well you can see the paint on the road.  Winter can be long and hard in Canada. 

At home, there was a good bit of exclaiming about the improvements and changes. (and eating Ranger Cookies Benjamin had ready) Elder Robarts approached the small half bath off the family room saying, “Well, I am sure this room hasn’t changed.”   Opened the door, then shut it with a look of amazement.  It has been painted and there are fish decals swimming along the walls.  Fun.

With difficulty we tore everyone away, loaded up the food in Ruth’s and my cars and headed to the park for his welcome home picnic.   We were almost surprised to see that the tablecloths that Benjamin and I had spent over an hour trying to tape down were still there.  It was a windy day! 

All of Andrew’s Sacramento siblings were there except Tom who was out of town for work.  Friends from the ward came by.  We ate lots of good food and visited.  Elder Robarts played Frisbee with his brothers and went over to the playground between visiting.  

We got a welcome phone call that his release appointment was moved from 8:30pm to 7:15.  Which meant we needed to quickly clean up the picnic stuff, take it home, put away what left-overs we could cram in the fridge, and get him out to the Cordova building.   We thought it was a family thing, so his siblings, nieces and nephew joined us.  It was, however, private.  Just him and Stake Presidency Counselor Norman.  That’s ok.  Entertainment was provided.  Galena Street East was performing the resident ward.

Newly returned and released missionary Andrew went home, got out his skateboard and went off BY HIMSELF for a few minutes.  Alone for the first time in two years.  Then one of his sisters whisked him and Benjamin away to play.    Joseph and I stayed home, caught the recap of the royal wedding, and went to bed.

Saturday was a busy day.  We spent the morning at the Mormon Helping Hands service project cleaning and beautifying a local elementary school.  A nice lunch at a park by another school MHH worked on.  Visiting with David and Teresa who also worked MHH.  A very short time at home.  Thankfully our friends who want help moving changed the date to the following weekend!  Then off to Debi’s for Chinese Dinner and games.  We played Sribblish and Things.

We enjoyed a relaxed Sunday morning before taking Andrew and Benjamin to choir practice.  At church, Andrew was constantly greeted and welcomed home – well, not DURING meetings, of course! Testimonies were shared, lessons taught.  Then we had David and Teresa over to dinner.  David, Teresa, Benjamin and Andrew played Uno with multiple decks including Princess Uno (because it has dragons and not because that was the only way Elder Robarts could hold a girl in his hands while on his mission.)

This week he is settling in and slowly working his way through his various possessions which burst from two very packed suitcases and landed all over the front room.

Welcome home, Andrew!