Monday, December 23, 2013

What's in a name...

  I haven't won many awards in my life. Certainly not many major awards anyway.

  I did manage to win the Thomas Paine Award from the Libertarian Party a few years back, but other than that it was mostly just a few red ribbons and such along the way.

  Back in October of 1968, I was a new member of the Hagerstown Explorer Post #3, and we went on a canoe trip  down the White River. The water was a little high and rough from some fall rains I guess, and at one point all of the canoes except the last one in the group were swirled around a giant tree and capsized.

  Never having attained my merit badge in swimming, I grabbed onto a tree limb in the raging waters and held on for dear life, convinced that the life jacket I was wearing was probably as defective as the guide that had led us into such a hazard in the first place. In a matter of seconds, my tennis shoes were swept from my feet, never to be seen, at least by me, again.

  While the rest of the troop was gather up was gathering whatever equipment and rations they could salvage from the flood waters, one of our scoutmasters, Bob Beeson, was standing on the shore, shouting "Bill! Bill! Just let go and you will float down to us!" I wasn't sure who or where Bill was, but decided it was probably my best bet to hang onto that limb until the water receded.

  It was then that another of our leaders, Floyd Sanders, tapped Bob on the shoulder and informed him that my name was Rex. The new instructions gave me a little more confidence, and in a couple of minutes I was on dry land and ready to resume the adventure.

 At our next meeting, Floyd presented me with a name tag and this:

 He called it "The Barefoot Boy Award." Now that was a major award. I've kept it for 45 years.

 Floyd passed away this morning at the age of 78. I was proud to know him, and I'm awful proud he took the time to know my name. Otherwise, I might still be hanging onto that limb down on the White River.

  Thanks Floyd, it's been good to know you.


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