Marching Webelos

The best thing about being in the Cub Scouts was getting recognized for being in the Cub Scouts. You flash a badge, you wear a neckerchief, and not only are you in the club, but you're in everyone else's club too. I'd wear that uniform to school for picture day and suddenly transform that "humdrum smile against the paper background" into a proud military portrait in full regalia--a full smile, a missing tooth, and a badass bunch of badges. Two words: aw yeah.

Well nothing was more honorary than marching in the Memorial Day parade as Cub Scout Troop [whatever], in fact, we had more honor than we knew what to do with. "Remember, your behavior reflects on the whole troop," they said. They had to preempt our fighting and make sure each of us got a shot at carrying the banner with our troop insignia, which was a matter we took very seriously. So we stood shoulder to shoulder in one long single-file line holding this thing up and stepping on each other's feet for a mile and a half.

We began the journey at the "secret parade people's meeting area" in the field where the Scotsmen were tuning their sheep bladders and the classic cars were idling and revving up for no reason, and waited there for the eternity it took the thing to get started. We baked, and sweat, and got on each other's nerves under the hot sun, and finally found ourselves lining up to be smack dab between the fire engine and that high school drum ensemble. Let's just say, the novelty of marching wore off pretty fast.

That fire engine was a tough act to follow. It tossed out the most candy, and like hell if we listened to the pack leader about staying in formation once there was candy in the area. If the banner almost dropped a few times and caused an embarrassment for the whole council, it was because we were stuffing our pockets before those leeches on the street corners got theirs. Nobody expects a Cub Scout to be a giver and a sharer anyways.

As far as where we were headed, "who the heck knows... just follow the fire truck."  So we just kept walking and walking under the hot sun, slowly losing our hearing, slowly losing our shirts, and getting on each other's nerves (that would've happened anywhere). When we finally made it to the end, we sat in the grass at the grave site and ate our candy and rang the sweat out of our neckerchiefs until our parents caught up with us. There was some memorial ceremony going on there, but what did we care? We had three things on our minds:  shade, silence, and water!

That's what Cub Scouting is all about, teaching you what's important.

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