Troop 14 at Camp Lewallen

Boy Scout Troop 14Troop 14 raised most of the money it took to go to Camp Lewallen in the summer of 1966. When their sales of soft drinks at the Arena Park stock car races and distributing posters came up a little short of being able to send all the boys to camp, the Cape Girardeau Jaycees made up the difference.

Somehow or another I managed to convince jBlue to devote the whole July 30, 1966, Youth Page to the boys. It’s the only single-topic page I can recall. That made me happy, because we ran eight pictures, which brought in almost as much money as I made in salary that week. I’m missing a couple of the photos that ran, but I substituted some that were close. The information under the photos came from captions that appeared in the paper for the most part.

Doing their swim checks

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966Most Scouts take to water with the fervor of ants heading for a picnic basket, and these members of Troop 14, sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Jaycees are no exception. Hitting the water for their swim check at Camp Lewallen are Roscoe Newbern, 304 LaCruz; Ed Slaughter, 532 College; David Vann, 522 South Frederick; Raymond Ward, 1211 South Sprigg; Harold Webb, 620 Vine; Calvin Sides, 548 South Frederick, and Larry Ross and Ervin Williams, 1622 South Sprigg.

Medical check

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966Before they go swimming, they are given a quick medical check to detect any major physical disabilities that might limit their participation at camp. Dr. Tim Talbert listens to Ed Slaughter’s heartbeat, while a nurse examines Calvin Sides for possible skin infections that could keep him out of aquatic activities.

Some quiet time

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966Ottis Johnson, 1610 South Sprigg, finds that there’s even time for a little solitude worked into his busy schedule of axemanship, horseback riding and a little advancement work. [I don’t know if ‘Ottis” is the correct spelling, but that’s what was in the paper.]

Acting Senior Patrol Leader Ervin Williams

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966The responsibilities of an acting senior patrol leader are mirrored by Ervin Williams’ wrinkled brow. Ervin, the oldest scout in the troop, was elected to the post at the group’s first meeting at the camp. [This wasn’t the photo that ran, but it’s close.]

Jaycees helped out

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966[This isn’t the photo that ran, so the names won’t match up. I wanted to get them listed, even if they might not be in this particular photo.]

Talking over the plans for the week are are, from left, Harold Webb, David Vann, Acting Scoutmaster Roy Dzurick, Ed Slaughter and Troop Committee Chairman Jeff Ryan, a Jaycee. Because the boys’ regular scoutmaster couldn’t attend camp, a Lewallen staff member was in charge of the nine scouts.

Newbern and Moore sell drinks

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966Roscoe Newbern seems to turn up everywhere. The Missourian photographer caught him and Joe Moore dishing out soft drinks to Jeff Ryan at the Arena Park stock car races. Proceeds from the stand helped pay the troop’s way to Camp Lewallen.

A pensive Tenderfoot

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966Roscoe is silent, pensive, wondering, perhaps how it was possible to cram so many projects into a six-day period.

Making a tent a home

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966

Roscoe and his tentmate Calvin Sides worked so hard to make their tent liveable that one of the other boys shouted, “Hey, Roscoe, you’ll make some woman a good wife someday.” Roscoe, always a good Scout, didn’t reply.

Most boys advanced in rank

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966At Lewallen, most of the boys advanced at least one rank and some of them picked up merit badges.

“Kind of spooky”

Troop 14 - Camp Lewallen 07-30-1966Long-term camping was something new to most of the scouts, but a few random comments would indicate they they got along all right.

“It was great – the food was good and there was plenty of it…those Indian dances Thursday night were terrific – I really liked the Hoop Dance… I had trouble getting to sleep that night we spent out under the stars: it was kind of spooky.”

Camp Lewallen photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the side to move through the gallery. Bonus point if you can find the photo with me in it.

Boy Scout Troop 14

Boy Scout Troop 14

These are the boys from Troop 14 standing in front of May Green School before they head off for a week at Camp Lewallen in July 1966.The scouts raised money by selling soft drinks at the Arena Park stock car races and distributed posters. When they came up short of enough money to send all the boys to camp, the Cape Jaycees made up the difference.

I’m going to resort to an old trick I used when doing picture pages at The Athens Messenger. If I had a topic that was worth more than one day, I’d run a big picture – let’s say of a general store – with a headline and a short caption ending with “Tomorrow, we’ll go inside.”

My film scanner was taking a lot longer than usual tonight, then I ran into an odd Photoshop output glitch.

So, falling back on my old trick, “Tomorrow we’ll follow the boys to Camp Lewallen. There are plenty of pictures. I think the story might have been the only single-topic Youth Page I ever saw. (You can click on the photo to make it larger.)

How to Cut Down a Tree

Woodpile at 1618 Kingway Drive Nov 1961Like most males of a certain age, I have an aversion to reading directions. HAD I picked up the Manual of Manual Labor before I started cutting firewood, I probably would have seen Rule One: Avoid it.

See, I mentioned before that I can usually pull out my Medicare Card when I’m with Brother Mark or Sons Matt and Adam to get out of work, but I suspect that when your mother is 91 and counting, her card is senior to mine.

Master of the chain saw

Ken Steinhoff Hurricane Frances clean-ip 09-12-2004So, to back up: we had a windstorm blow through Cape that took down some big branches off a maple tree on the west side of the house. I bought an electric chain saw (I get along with gas saws just about as well as I coexist with plumbing) and made short work of cutting it up into lengths we could put in the fireplace. [This was me doing damage to the trees and limbs we had blow down in our yard in West Palm Beach during Hurricane Frances in 2004. I look much the same today. Trees tremble around me.]

“Just in case”

Cape ice storm 02-21-2013_2555When the ice storm was predicted, we decided (Mother decided, waving her Medicare Card), that we should bring in extra firewood and kindling “just in case.”

This year’s wood must have been dryer than usual because there was very little left on the pile after filling the garden cart and two storage bins in the basement. We decided (Mother decided, waving her Medicare Card) to harvest whatever dead wood there was in the yard “just in case.”

I had been eying a dead snag on the east side of the yard for some time. It looked big enough to provide a lot of wood, but small enough that I could handle it with my 16″saw.

Boy Scouts used “squaw wood”

Boy Scout pre-camporee involving Boy Scout Troop 8 in 1963 In my Boy Scout days, we didn’t get to cut down many trees at camp. Like NO trees at camp. We were told to gather “squaw wood,” defined in the Scout Handbook as “the kind Indian women used to collect by simply breaking it off.” You probably won’t find that phrase used in today’s Handbook.  Anyway, after I took off to college, Dad came up with a great money-making scheme for my brothers’ Order of the Arrow Chapter: he had woods that needed to be cleared for roads; he had trucks; he had chainsaws and he had parents of boys 14 to 18-years-old who didn’t see anything wrong with putting that combination together to cut firewood.

So far as I know, Dad always came home with the same number of boys he started with; the boys got to do a “man’s work” with dangerous tools, and people needing firewood got a great deal. Of course, that’s in the days when chainsaws were considered tools, not killing machines wielded by hockey-mask-wearing crazy guys in slasher movies.

I’m an experienced tree trimmer

Tree trimming in West Palm Beach back yard 09-14-2009

Despite my lack of Boy Scout experience, I HAVE managed to down a tree or two. Here’s an account of one of those adventures.

OK, I’ll confess, that’s my tree, but that’s not me IN my tree. I could have done that if I had wanted to, though.

I accounted for old fence wire

Tree with fence in it 02-23-2013I sized up the tree, decided I wanted it to fall to the southwest into the back yard where I could cut it up with a minimum of hauling. The trees on two sides of our yard had been used as fence posts going back probably 70 years or more. The ones on the east side were pretty much rusted away by the time we moved in 57 years ago. Still, I knew I’d have to watch out for nails and fence wire. I started my notch cut about four feet above the ground, above the visible wire.

All went well for about 23 seconds, then the saw bucked a few times and I watched sparks fly out of my cut. Not ALL of the wire was visible. I changed my angle, cut about 17 seconds, with the same result. The notch wasn’t as big as I would like, but it’ll do, I thought.

Nails must have been cheap

Tree with fence in it 02-23-2013I made the top angle cut, pretending not to notice the sparks, then switched to the back of the tree to make the hinge cut. MORE sparks. If the fence wire I could SEE was 70 years old, then there must have been another fence hanging off that tree 90 years ago, because it was at least 1-1/2 inches under the surface.

I had other stuff to cut, so I didn’t want to kill the saw blade. “I’ll drive wedges into the hinge cut,” I thought. Shouldn’t take much to get the tree to decide gravity should take over. Three big wedges and a 6-pound sledge earned me a slight cracking sound. From the way the tree hadn’t changed position, I surmised the cracking sound was coming from my back.

Earlier in the procedure, I worked a rope up the tree as high as I could, figuring that I could “encourage” the tree to fall in that direction if I got it rocking. Unfortunately, the tree was leaning against a dead branch from another tree about 30 feet in the air. It had been there long enough that it had cut a deep groove in the branch. It wouldn’t rock.

Saw blade slick as dental floss

Tree with fence in it 02-23-2013Finally, I decided that I had had enough. I didn’t care if I made the saw blade as slick as a piece of dental floss: I was tired of swinging that sledge. Ignoring the fireworks show going on, I cut all the way through the hinge to the notch. I could see light through it. The tree was ignoring the law of gravity.

Where are the pictures of all this? Well, Mother was standing by keeping a close eye on the proceedings. She had a whip in one hand to encourage me to keep working, and a cell phone in the other so she could dial 9-1-1. Her camera was in her pocket. She hadn’t planned to pull it out unless there was blood, at which point she would take a picture and faint dead away. When she woke up, THEN she would dial 9-1-1.

Use a longer rope

I pulled on the rope. With a loud crack, the tree starting falling in my direction. Hint: if your tree is 30 feet tall, use at least a 40-foot rope, not a 25-foot one. “I never knew you could run so fast,” Mother observed, having dropped the whip and picked up the camera.

Amazing what you can do with the right encouragement.

Well, the story isn’t over. While taking down the tree, I noticed a dead one that had fallen just down the slope. Since I already had the saw and the electric cord down there, I elected to cut it up, too. That involved cutting a piece of wood, throwing up the slope as far as I could, then picking up it and throwing it the rest of the way to the yard. Keep track of those steps. It’ll become important later.

Was farmer keeping out bats?

Tree with fence in it 02-23-2013Now it was time to cut up the primary tree. I started at the top, slender, end. It cut about as well as you would expect a piece of dental floss to cut. It didn’t cut so much as worry the wood to death.

Then, about four feet from the butt end, which would have been about eight feet above the ground, I hit fence wire again. I don’t know what the farmer was trying to keep in or keep out, but it had to have been bats or giraffes. Mother had gone to get her hair done, so I took this opportunity to throw the four-foot snag waaaay down the hill where I hoped she wouldn’t notice it.

THIS is the cart

Mary Steinhoff 2004 Birthday SeasonOur back yard has two levels. I pulled the garden cart down to pick up the wood from down the hill. That’s the wood that I had already picked up at least twice. I put it into the cart, then pulled the cart up a 40% grade to the main yard, where I put in the big stuff from the primary tree. Some other large branches had fallen on the east side of the yard, so I cut them up, loaded the cart and headed toward the basement. The only problem was that I couldn’t steer the cart: a nut on the bolt that attached the steering handle to the cart had evidently worked loose. The only solution was to unload the cart so I could replace the bolt and nut.

I’ve touched it five-plus times

Steinhoff wood and fireplace 02-21-2013That meant that I had to touch those pieces a fourth time. After I got the cart fixed, it dawned on me that it wouldn’t make much sense to haul an empty cart inside, so I loaded it back up. We’re now up to a minimum of five touches per piece of wood. Much of the wood went into bins on the left and right side of the fireplace. That brings us to six or seven touches.

I’m tempted to NAME the firewood

Steinhoff wood and fireplace 02-21-2013Throwing it into the fireplace will be the eighth time (minimum) I’ve moved it. The final step will be carrying out the ashes. I’ve seen each piece of wood so many times I’m tempted to name it.

Sharing with Dad

I’m blessed this Thanksgiving season that I have a great family, including Mother, who turned 91 in October and still has a zest for life.

I never come to Cape without making at least one swing through New Lorimier Cemetery where Dad is buried. One thing I’ve missed over the years is the opportunity to share with him some of the stories I’ve covered and the fascinating people I’ve met. I never went into much detail, but it was nice to know that there was someone out there who wanted to live vicariously through my war stories.

A few trips back, I decided to keep sharing what I’m doing in what might sound like an unusual way. After I shot the train squishing coins on the tracks in Wittenberg, I left a railroad spike and a smashed quarter on his tombstone. The spike is now driven into the dirt at the base of it, and I retrieved the quarter to give to Brother Mark.

The blue tile came from Cairo

This time I left behind a blue piece of tile that used to be the floor of a building in Cairo. If I don’t come up with something more interesting, on my next trip back home I’ll leave some stone slivers I found on the ground at the base of a wall around the Fourche a du Clos Valley Roadside Park near Bloomsdale.

It’s not very conventional, but it works for me. And, I have a pretty good idea that it works for him, too.

In case you were wondering

In case you were wondering what those three objects are in the circles on his stone, Dad was active in Boy Scouting and Order of the Arrow. The carving on the lower left represents the Silver Beaver, “the council-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. Recipients of this award are registered adult leaders who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council. The Silver Beaver is an award given to those who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through hard work, self sacrifice, dedication, and many years of service. It is given to those who do not actively seek it.”

The object on the right is the Order of the Arrow’s Vigil Honor, “the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to lodge, council, and Scouting.” They meant a great deal to him.

You can click on the photos to make them larger.