The Hawk Patrol
On a Tuesday night, at a Methodist Church near the county landfill, Wiley and Eddie join the Hawk Patrol, a group of 10 adults assembled as a working scout team. Their leader and coach is Russ Faraday, an off-duty motorcycle policemanbuilt like an offensive lineman. Russ knows how to get your attention, give orders, and train adults as capable scout leaders. He is quick with advice – “There will be 4 more meetings of the Hawk patrol followed by an overnight camping weekend to test your scouting and leadership skills. You know, tie the knots, sing the songs, first aid, camping skills and following orders. Stuff like that. Each meeting begins with a color guard, Pledge of Allegiance and the Troop Song . With 6 other patrols enrolled we have 70 adults for the leadership program. “Don’t miss any class and you’ll all be fine. As the song goes ‘we’re all of like persuasion joined that scouting may not ever end’.
The weeks go by quickly . By the fourth class Eddie is gone. Wiley keeps up with his studies. He likes the songs. Fire safety, merit badges, orienteering, first aid are easy for him. Following orders, not so much. This thing about the patrol method (chain of command) just doesn’t fit his 60s-era, anarchist personality. Russ always offers sage advice - ‘Buckle up, huckle buck. We’re moving forward all the time’. By week 5 the Hawk patrol are ready for the overnight camping weekend at a local state park and for two days they run the gamut of scouting drills. Highlighting scout teamwork, Hawk Patrol builds a bridge out of timber and rope, lashing together a sturdy structure allowing 20 adults to ford a narrow stream. On Saturday afternoon clouds darken and the rain pours into the night. Now the program is really getting under Wiley’s skin.
That rainy evening, on kitchen duty, he gets the KP assignment as dessert chef tocreate Peach Cobbler surprise using Dutch oven and coals. Too bad he can’t follow directions – Can of peaches, biscuit mix, sugar, fire and coals are the recipe for Dutch oven cooking. No one told him about putting coals on top of the Dutch oven cast iron lid. Without overhead heat from the coals, the doughy biscuit mix sinks into the mélange of lukewarm peaches and juice, creating a lovely tepid mixture, a chewy fruit surprise. Good though. Given the cold and rainy weather, culinary skills don’t matter and Hawk Patrol devours the dessert.