One year my son decided to join the Boy Scouts. He worked hard and received the required merit badgers along with other awards for his efforts. It reminded me of the time I was a scout and travelled with other members of my troop to Camp Philmont in New Mexico. We spent two weeks in the mountains hiking, pulling stubborn mules and cooking over open fires. It was an experience second to none and is remembered with fondness even to this day.
After a few weeks of meetings my son’s scoutmaster decided to have a father and son camping weekend at one of our many beautiful state parks. We got there a tad late and found the tents had already been passed out. We got the last one. During set up we found our tent was missing the necessary tent poles needed at both ends. My son was visibly upset until I told him, “Remember your Dad was in the Marine Corps.” We tied ropes to each end, found two trees the right distance apart, and soon our two day home was ready.
After we moved all our supplies into the tent I brought out my small shovel and began to make a trench around our tent. My son asked what I was doing and again I reminded him of my Marine Corps training.
Shortly after climbing into our sleeping bags and turning off the kerosene lantern we heard the loudest scream and then a loud thump on the side of our tent. Then we listened as scratches were heard going up one of the trees. Then another scream and a thump, and then another scream and more thumps and more scratching. We stayed inside but I knew what was going on. We had tied our tent to a tree housing a family of playful raccoons and they were having the time of their lives. This went on for quite a while until finally Momma called them in. It was now time for us to go to sleep as well.
During the evening it began to rain and I mean rain. You could hear the drops hitting the leaves above and then falling onto our tent. This went on for hours; a real soaking. The next morning we found the other campers either sleeping in their cars or trying to dry their clothing and equipment. We were the only father-son team that stayed warm and dry thanks to a trench lesson learned many years before. In my son’s mind I was not only his father but also a hero and guardian.
All this made me think of a verse found in the Book of Matthew spoken by Jesus,
“And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’ for you have one Father and he is in heaven.”
I look forward to the day I kneel before the throne of my Father, my hero and guardian.
Image from http://www.parade.com/news/views/guest/120923-andrew-mccarthy-into-the-woods.html