I Remember Dad: Hallowed Be, Thy Sacred Truth of The Scout Law

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By Richard Mabey Jr.

My beloved father served as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170 for 28 years, from 1966 to 1994. Dad was 67 years old when he retired from his volunteer role of the Beloved Scoutmaster. He was fighting prostate cancer at the time. A battle that he did win. But sadly, the dreaded cancer reared its ugly head again in 2006, in the form of pancreatic cancer. Sadly, Dad lost that fight.

My father believed in the Scout Law and the Scout Oath. Every single word of it. Second only to the Lord’s Prayer, it was Dad’s guiding light upon which he used to shine upon his walk along life’s path. Upon my father’s workbench, was a folded oak tag sign that read, “better to teach a boy the moral path, than to rehabilitate a wayward man.” The lettering of that little sign was handwritten. Dad had written those words back in 1966, when he first became Scoutmaster of Troop 170.

For nearly 30 years, Dad looked at that little sign. As the years passed by, the little oak tag sign developed little folds in the corner. The sunlight, pouring in from the cellar window, had caused the once brightly colored, golden thick oak tag to turn to a faded shade of yellow. Yet the truth of Dad’s handwritten little sign never dulled, not one tiny bit.

My father saw his role as Scoutmaster as a ministry. Over the years, Dad was a most wonderful father-role to hundreds upon hundreds of boys. A kind-hearted adopted uncle, a gentle soul who taught boys the essentials of first-aid. Dad loved to teach the scouts about the great wonders of the trees of the forest and about all the magnificent creatures that called the woods, their sacred home.

My father taught all so many scouts to hold a great respect for all living things. He taught his scouts the role that the elm, the oak, the maple, and the pine played in preventing soil erosion on a hillside incline. Dad taught the scouts of dear old 170, to walk ever so gently and quietly, while approaching a group of deer drinking from a babbling brook, a few yards from the wooded path of the famed Appalachian Trail.

My father went Home to be with the Lord in May of 2006. Now, over 17 years later, I miss him all so very much. There are times when I hear the echo of my father’s voice, “now boys, your pocketknife isn’t a toy. You need to take special care when handling a knife. When you’re getting kindle wood ready for the fire, always cut the little twigs from a fallen branch away from you, never cut the twigs toward you.”

Like the tiny particles of sand that sift through our fingers, time waits for no person. The clock ticks the minutes away, the pages of the calendar are torn off too soon, the years pass by, and sadly, the years become decades, falling away from us.

Life is short. Too short to hold grievances and harsh judgments. Love one another. Forgive, forgive, and forgive those who do you wrong. Tell your loved ones that you love them. For tomorrow may be too late.

Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He hosts a YouTube Channel titled, “Richard Mabey Presents.” Richard most recently published a book of poetry and short stories. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com.