By RICH FOLEY
It’s not every day that I get a letter from someone who thinks I’m a 95 (or more) year-old Eagle Scout, but earlier this month I received two on the same day. I’m not sure what the odds of that are, and, on further thought, I’m almost certain I really don’t care, either. The fact that it happened and accompanying details, however, are downright entertaining.
On the evening of July 12, I stopped by the post office and found two letters, each with a handwritten return address in Delta, Ohio. Having no clue what they might be, but suspecting some sort of chain letter, I opened the first one. It was on the letterhead of the Black Swamp Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, with an address in Findlay.
It started “As an Eagle who resides in our community we wanted to recognize you on your achievement on 3/16/1931...” It went on to invite me to a scout event at Camp Lakota in Defiance on July 18th. As a further enticement, the letter stated that “We will have hot dogs and refreshments like bug juice.” There were several paragraphs concerning the Black Swamp Council and the need for help from “Eagles like you” to help with their fund raising goal.
There was even a name and phone number provided in case I had any questions. Lastly, a reminder to RSVP for the event in Defiance by July 11th.
Maybe I should have called the person assigned to handle questions because I had several. First, how did they get my post office box number? And even more importantly, why did they think I became an Eagle Scout over 82 years ago? That would make me in my mid-90’s, at least. I checked on one of those people search sites and there’s no one with my name or a close version of it in the entire state that’s that old. Why do they think that Eagle is still alive and how did they conclude I’m him?
And when they say “our community,” do they mean Fayette, Delta, Findlay or Defiance? Do they assume a 95- or 100-year-old man can get around well enough to travel to Defiance? And the event is featuring hot dogs and bug juice? I wouldn’t open my front door for a free hot dog, and bug juice isn’t exactly my favorite beverage. I’m sure I wouldn’t have made it to my mid-90s with that diet.
But it’s the lack of organization that makes me laugh. The letter inviting me to Defiance arrived one day after the RSVP deadline. I checked the envelope and sure enough, it was postmarked on the RSVP date, ensuring that I would receive it too late to go, even if I was the right person and really wanted to attend. I guess whoever sent out the invitations missed the Boy Scout instructions about being prepared.
I almost forgot to mention: after all this, I opened the second letter and found it to be an exact copy of the first, except for one small detail. The second letter was an offer to recognize me for my “achievement on 11/11/1930.” As if I wasn’t old enough in their eyes, they just made me even older. I didn’t know it was possible to become an Eagle Scout on two separate occasions. Would that make me some sort of super rare “Double Eagle?”
I hope this story isn’t making me sound anti-Scouting. I should take a minute to share the details of my Cub Scout career, such as it was.
Back when I was eight or nine years old, or whatever age new Cub Scouts are, a woman in the neighborhood visited our home one day, trying to recruit me for a new Cub Scout pack she was starting. A woman running a pack was pretty rare in those days. The fact that occasional meetings with other Cub packs would be held at a local hotspot called the Coon Hunter’s Lodge was the clincher. I signed up and waited for the first meeting.
I don’t remember much about the meeting. I do remembering a hammering contest in which I and the other boys tried to see who could pound a certain number of nails into a board the fastest. I also remember our leader serving us delicious homemade cupcakes.
But I don’t remember what we did that made the woman stop by a few days later and say she didn’t think she could handle running a Cub pack. No one else stepped forward, so my career as a Cub Scout lasted about a week, or, if you just want to count the actual meeting, about 90 minutes. I never even got to drink any bug juice.