February 24th, 2005


Cub Camping

I want to take our Webelos and parents camping out at the holler next month. To do this, I have to complete Baloo training (Cub outdoor stuff). The DE will let me do this by personal coaching instead of waiting for the next training session. After all, I've done Venturing, Boy Scouting, and National Camp School (Mgt session). At least you don't have to nitpick as badly to take Cubs camping as you do to take Girl Scouts somewhere (you'd go blind from the paperwork alone). I'll also have to have Wilderstead certified as a safe and adequate place to go camping (grump grump grump).

I think we'll just take the Weebs, though. After all, an overnight is a Weeb requirement, and I don't think our Wolves are mature enough yet. The Wolves (2nd-graders) still need to be constantly amused, and will be a pain unless someone is constantly gratifying their every whim and making them comfortable. The ten-year-olds can stand a little boredom and privation -- not much, but more than eight-year-olds. Plus, it would break up the brother act between one Weeb and one Wolf, and that would be good for both of them.

Next year, I will NOT get roped into doing Cubs. I like Cubs, but they're not my forte, and I don't have the time and energy. As our Venturers depart for college and the military, I can foresee the end of the Crew. I've offered to lead the charge for a Boy Scout Troop here at the church for the graduating Weebs and others, but so far no one has sounded excited.

Grave thoughts

As I was driving home for lunch today, I noticed someone had put up a wooden cross by the side of a busy intersection. It had a person's name and birth/death dates. I presume it is a memorial for someone killed in an accident nearby.

I don't get it. I don't want to minimize someone else's grief, or dictate how they remember their beloved dead, but I don't know why marking the death site is so important. (My mother died in a hospital, my father in a nursing home; I wouldn't want to mark either site.) For that matter, it seems to me that appropriating a public right of way for a private memorial is some kind of imposition upon one's fellow citizens. Do we owe them a reverence? Or do they owe us an uncluttered street? I am unsure of what pietas would demand.

I also note that graves are becoming more cluttered these days. I've never been a biggie for visiting graves or decorating them, but I understand that that's important to many people. But recently, I've notice that some graves are just filled with ceramic dolls, religious statues, floral tributes, balloons, plaques, and, well, "grief kitsch," for want of a better phrase. Is this just a new trend? Or is there a harder edge to grief these days? Are people less comforted by their various religious traditions (even those that are religious), so that they are less willing to let their loved ones go? Or do they simply feel the need to invest this death with a personal meaning, since nothing anymore comes with an already-understood meaning?

Ave et Vale

Pope John Paul II is very ill. Speculation about what he will do or who will succeed him is ramping up. It's a good time to talk about the Pope, both as the holder of that office and as the individual he is.

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