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The Midnight Council Fire still burnsdirected by ultimate Scoutmaster

Somewhere ...way up above the clouds ...under the Great White Oak ...in the Deep Woods ...behind the Great White Throne on High ...burns the Midnight Council Fire.

Three men from our community have recently been ushered in, to take their seats in the circle; Soapy Green, from Troop 70, in West Mansfield, Andy Stoner, from Troop 51, at Rushsylvania, and Curt Collins, from the old troop at Lakeview.

Out of the assembly, one man rises to greet them. He is a short, stout fellow. He is dressed in a faded blue work uniform. The name “Jim” is sewn above his left pocket. In that pocket are: a steel ruler, a soap stone, a couple burnt welding rods, a small screwdriver, and a couple pencils. His bald head is covered with an old Hobart skull cap. Under his wire rimmed glasses a warm smile fills his face. He reaches out a hand of welcome. One of his fingers is missing. It’s Jim Seeley. “Welcome, Fellas, have a seat.”

Next to Jim sits a small wiry man strumming a guitar ...With his head tilted to one side. He looks up through squinted eyes, “Did you do your best?” It’s Otis Cooper.

Out in the center of the circle, in front of the fire, Don Mears and Dale Huber are trying to lead the group in a song. Most of the guys are still laughing at a joke Bill Price just told. On the far side of the circle, near the trunk of the Great White Oak, Turley Lamberson and Les Born are planning the next Camporee. Kenny Nichols doesn’t like the location. Glen Zell says, “come on, give it a chance.”

Four men sit on an old hickory log, under a low hanging branch of the Great White Oak. Steve Skidmore, in a dark green vest, wearing his three cornered hat, is absentmindedly polishing the stock of his Brown Bess. Sam Doak is practicing an arm sling on Charlie Rinehart. Jack Young stands up, walks to the fire, stirs the ashes with a stick, then lifts the burning stick to light Andy’s pipe. “Good to see ya.”

Behind the fire, Rev. Guy Furby in full uniform, with his “Smoky the Bear” hat, sits on an old Coleman ice chest preparing to read the evening Scripture lesson. Don Geist stands over his shoulder with a flashlight, to illuminate the pages of the Book.

Over on the left side, Claude Wesser sits on a 10 gallon milk can. He holds a small boy wrapped in a blanket. Claude comforts the tenderfoot, who has never been away from home before. Every once in a while, the Big Guy comes down off the Great White Throne, and strolls down the path towards the Great Oak, and the Midnight Council Fire. As He enters the circle, He reaches to His back pocket, and pulls out His blue bandana. With it, He squats down to the fire, and picks up the coffee pot. He pours a dose into the stainless steel Sierra cup, that hangs from His belt on a thong. He takes a sip, then reaches over and fills Cedric Braden’s up. He rises to His feet, stretches His back, and stares up at the stars. “It sure is a beautiful night, boys.”

Yes, Father, it sure is,” they all reply.

You see ... God too, is a Scoutmaster.

Ronald Irick
West Liberty

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