Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Odds and Ends of Life

Beaven and I may be either (1) watching too much TV or (2) becoming hearing impaired.

A couple of days ago he was sitting in front of the computer in the room where the TV sits. I walked passed him and noticed that Alton Brown was devoting a whole episode to okra. Now, that alone should tell you how empty our lives are. Nonetheless, I have to admit I got excited at a cooking show about okra. So I exclaimed with great excitement, “Hey, okra!” Beaven didn’t take his eyes off the computer but answered in exasperation, “Again?!! How many times a day is that woman on TV?”

I admit that our life out here in paradise is fairly calm. I’ve enjoyed our little rainy spell and had the windows open all day. But I’ve earned a little peace and quiet. After all, I was a Girl Scout leader for almost ten years. I have been promised one of the really cushy green velvet chairs in that special corner of heaven reserved for Girl Scout leaders who took third grade girls camping in the rain.

When Emily signed up her girls for Scouts last week I was glad. Glad that my time to sit back and just watch had come. Relieved that we didn’t have to waste another year’s money in dance classes. Proud to have my granddaughters become part of one of the best organizations a girl can join. And the whole family was especially happy to have an unlimited pipeline to cookies every spring.

Emily told me she went to an orientation meeting for Sarah’s troop. This troop is going to be led by one of the girls’ grandmother. That sounded pretty pedestrian--a little gray-haired lady teaching them how to tie a square knot. Then Emily explained the lady emailed her asking Emily to help out with the camping. Then, the punch-line: Emily mentioned the lady’s name was Micki Perry. Elizabeth and I both froze.

Could it be that the great Texas Red was back in action? So we asked Emily if this ‘grandmother’ had red hair.
“Yes.”
“Lucille Ball I love Lucy Red?”
“Yes, why?”

Somehow Emily had missed out on Day Camp when Texas Red was running the show.

Texas Red was almost a legend in Girl Scout circles in our neck of the woods. If I thought I got any extra respect for actually seeing the alligator in Alligator Pond, it was nothing compared to leading the singing at Day Camp every year. That’s when you get your name in neon around the Girl Scout crowd.

My favorite story of Micki was from my first primitive camping experience. Most of the details I can’t remember except there were about a jillion little girls running around in the wilderness while the radio was reporting thunderstorms and tornadoes in the area. They finally called all the troops to come in from their remote areas and into one of the buildings for shelter. I had an especially worried troop assistant paying close attention to the weather radio and driving me nuts. So I told Micki that Patti was worried about what the radio was reporting and asked what I should do. I will always remember her calm yet sterling advice:

“Tell Patti to turn the radio off.”

She also had the added notoriety of writing a couple of really torrid, trashy historical romance novels. Of all her achievements and leadership she brought to Girl Scouting in Garland the only thing about her my eldest daughter remembered was the bodice rippers.

I guess the last time I saw her was in the grocery store when her first book was about to be published. She told me she would have to come up with a “nom de plume” because nobody writes these books under their real names. I suggested she write under the name “Chastity Hotflash.”

But she didn’t use that name. This was no big disappointment to me. I can always use it myself someday.

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