In the past few blogs, I welcomed you aboard as a Gnubie. And you’re welcome! Now I’d like to introduce a new theme – that of “Gnubie and loving it”. Yes, I was a Gnubie and loving every minute! That would be me!
As I talked about my old Troop 155, I talked a little bit about my gnubie Scoutmaster, Mr. George Kimball Nelson. Mr. Nelson was one of the greatest of Scoutmasters. He recently died at age 91 or so. Mr. Nelson was not only our Scoutmaster – but he was also our science teacher at Kino Junior High School (in Mesa, Arizona). He was an avid photographer and liked to take photos of ALL of the geological features we enccountered on all our hikes. We all knew that we had to put our best side – or foot – forward for our Scout hike photos. We knew too well that we’d be seeing those same pictures the next week in our science class.
I still laugh at Mr. Nelson and his photography. He would get our troop guys posed and would leave an open spot for himself. Then he would set the camera and run like crazy to get into the picture. He was kind of a big hefty guy so he didn’t always make it into his reserved space. Consequently, we got a lot of pictures of his backside as he was running into the picture.
In my mind, Mr. Nelson was truly “Mr. Scoutmaster”. I thought that he was the greatest. An unsung hero, he served as Scoutmaster for years and years. He quietly served while doing his best for us Scouts and many a boy grew under his careful tutelage. He was always in full uniform and always set a good example for us.
Mr. Nelson was also the epitome of preparedness. We met at his home before many a hike for a “shake down” to make sure that we had all that we needed(or threw out some that we didn’t need). Mr. Nelson was my Scoutmaster as I was a new Gnubie in the troop and he was still there when I received my Eagle Scout Award a few years later.
To this day, I can still hear Mr. Nelson singing his favorite song in his deep bass voice. (He was actually a pretty good singer). Anyway, the words are just as funny now as they were then.
THE HORSES RUN AROUND
The horses run around,
Their feet are on the ground.
Oh, who will wind the clock
While I’m away, away?
Go get the axe,
There’s a hair on baby’s chest,
And a boy’s best friend
Is his mother, his mother.
While looking out the window,
A second story window,
I slipped and sprained my eyebrow
On the pavement, the pavement.
Go get the Listerine,
Sister has a beau,
And who has cut the sleeves
Off father’s vest, his vest.
A-peeking through the know hole,
In Grandpa’s wooden leg,
Oh, who has built the shore
So near the ocean, the ocean.
Go get the alcohol,
Willy wants a rub,
And we hope that Grandma’s teeth
Will soon fit Jenny, fit Jenny.
While walking in the moonlight,
The bright and sunny moonlight,
She kissed me in the eye
With a tomato, tomato.
We feed the baby garlic
So we can find him in the dark,
And an onion is a husky
Vegetable, a table!
I shared this song again with a bunch of the guys from Troop 155 (The Best Alive) when we had a troop reunion. Mr. Nelson was really surprised that I could remember the song and could come up with all of the words so many years later. He definitely left an impression with it.
While on the subject of Scoutmaster Nelson, I’ll share a couple of other funny memories of him. In those days, we attended Camp Geronimo located up near Payson, Arizona. We were issued commissary food. We went to the camp commissary and were issued a giant basket of food – which we lugged up to our Blackfoot #3 Campsite. And at the end of our camping week, the commissary did not take back any of our leftover food. On one occasion, we had a large bag of oatmeal left over. Mr. Nelson was a pure naturalist and was not one to waste anything. And he also did not want to endanger the environment.
Anyway, he took the bag of oatmeal – and with his hefty physique, danced around the campsite as he flung hands full of oatmeal off onto the ground. And as he did so, he said loudly, “Here little birdies, Here little birdies …” I am sure that he made a few birds happy that day! But, the incoming troop probably wondered at the new form of ground cover.
I think I have already blogged about Mr. Nelson as he sat on the pioneering latrine that we constructed at a camporee. Our pioneering skills were not a match for his girth and down he came – amidst the crashing of the poles and lashings.
On another occasion, we took a week-long trip down into Havasupai Canyon. I think I’ve talked about Mr. Nelson hauling our Dutch oven on this trip. And I think we had one large aluminum pot, aswell. And for one of the meals, Mr. Nelson decided that we needed to have stewed prunes (cooked in the aluminum pot). This meal was planned kind of toward the end of the week – specifically because he knew that Scouts have a phobia about using outdoor facilities – to take care of nature calls. So the prunes were multi-functional.
Now you can imagine that stewed prunes. were definitely not on the list of favorite foods for me – nor any other Scout in the troop. But, the meal went on – according to his plan. He stewed up this big pot of prunes for a meal. Then his next task was trying to entice us Scouts to come and have some of the wonderful prunes. Well, none of us stepped forward. We watched in horror as Mr. Nelson ate some of the horrible looking things. Gross! (That was how most of us described them.)
But not Mr. Nelson! Nothing held him back. He was pretty much uninhibited. So, he ate a bowl of the gross things, and then said, “These are really great … you guys ought to come and have some of these.” He still got no takers. Then he went back for me … a repeat of all of the above. He continued this action more than a couple of times.
Well, you can image the distilling effect of the prunes on Mr. Nelson’s digestive system. They quickly started to do the job. And within a short time, Mr. Nelson was seen moving quite quickly toward the nearest KYBO (when there was one). I think that he discovered every KYBO land creosote bush in the whole canyon by the time that our trip ended. The prunes certainly seemed to keep him entertained. We were glad that he enjoyed them. And we also enjoyed watching the entertainment.
We had our own Scout room at the church and a junk closet where we stored our camping equipment and lots of other stuff. One of our favorite troop activities was a rousing game of “Buck-Buck”. We played it as often as we could. The game is played with two equal teams (equal in “beef” as well as in number). The guys from one team would put their arms around the waist of the guy bending over ahead of them. Then one at a time, the other team would take a running start and would try to jump onto the backs of the team leaning over – and the other guys already perched up on them. If the “jumping” team touched the wall (from the top of the pile) they won the game. If the “holding” team held the jumping team – without buckling under the added weight – then they were the winners. This was real fun until Richard fell once and wrecked his tail bone. We kind of lost our enthusiasm for the game after that.
Richard seemed to be good about falling. I think he was also the Scout who fell from about 20’ or more in the air as he tried to use our traditional rope and pulley down the campsite at Camp Geronimo. Maybe that’s why he’s a chiropractor now.
Gnubie and loving it! Yes, those were the grandest of days back with Troop 155! I really did love those good ol’ Gnubie days.
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
Excerpts taken from Kevin’s many Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership” and others at Scoutingtrails. Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy Scout, The Scouting Trail and The Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read!
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