aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Learning how the other half lives

My best friend in Scouting, Bill Bogner, was a devout Roman Catholic. The first Protestant worship service he ever attended was at an Order of the Arrow conclave at Camp Louis Ernst.

The first night of this conclave, we stayed up all night playing euchre. Only got an hour or so's sleep. The second night, we went to bed late again. I woke up later, all damp and twisted in my sleeping bag. Finally, I thought, "I've gotta get out of this bag and straighten everything out." So I sat up and put my hand outside the bag, on the tent floor, and immediately woke completely up -- having plunged my hand into two inches of icy water.

It had been raining steadily, and had now flooded the entire tenting site. Bill had apparently tried to wake me, but there was no getting me up. So now I got dressed and trudged down to the dining hall where we played euchre the rest of the night. (This was the first campout where I had ever been driven from my campsite by weather. It was twenty years later that Kansas started my love-hate relationship with plains weather. But I digress.)

Anyway, Bill had gone with the other Catholics into town the night before for mass. But now, he had a sudden urge to see how the other half lived, so Sunday morning found him and me sitting through a boring-as-all-get-out Protestant chapel service conducted by an earnest young Baptist preacher. Said preacher was trying his best to connect with his young flock. I still remember his central illustration being about "Scout Troop Number One," of which Jesus Christ was the SPL (I still wince when I think of it).

I was trying to keep my weary head up to pay attention, because I felt sorry for this poor guy. Bill was sitting all alert, head cocked, taking it all in. Everybody else was slumped on the chapel seats, doodling in the dust and waiting for the service to drag itself to a conclusion. As we were leaving (finally), I turned to Bill and said, "Man, did you see how bored those kids were?"

Bill looked shocked. He said, "BORED? I thought they were meditating. If I don't pay attention in church, I get hit!"

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