Thursday, April 26, 2012

MIB Men in Blue

I love a man in uniform. And on my honor, if that man weighs 48 pounds and stands 48 inches tall, I love him all the more.

This past Sunday, my youngest donned his Cub Scout uniform to attend his Pack's Annual Blue and Gold Banquet. This is the end of year celebration for the Cubs where the Scouts advance to the next level of rank. It's a big deal. Our Pack does it up right with a catered Italian meal and homemade desserts.

On Sunday Helios earned his Bear Rank which he and his Den had been working on all school year. Now they are Webelos and will spend the next two years working toward their Webelos Rank patch and the pinnacle of Cub Scouting, the Arrow of Light.

The presenting of ranks at the banquet is very ceremonial. Each rank has a right of passage that each boy must commit before his new rank can be bestowed upon him. For those earning their Bear patch, they must eat bear meat. The Scouts must ingest the essence of mighty bear's spirit so that they too possess the quiet power of the bear. Each Bear candidate was handed a large hunk of bear meat. By bear meat I actually mean beef jerky. But with all the ceremonial talk of consuming the spirit contained in the bear's sinew and flesh, some of the boys were skeptical whether it was actually bear meat or not.

Skeptical or not, all the boys choked down the bear meat like the deserving braves they are. It may have taken the better part of the rest of the ceremony to get all the bear spirit down, but at least none of the bear essence came back up.

The day was made even more special by the presence of a special guest. The boys' cousin, my niece, Shannon, came for the weekend and banquet. She lives just a short drive away from us now and we love that we get to see her more often. And I love all these dimples and pink cheeks!

Now, who could resist this Man In Blue?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Schooled - Peepholes

The odds of something good being on the other side of a peephole are usually not in your favor - Me

We spent spring break where we love to The Smokies. We hauled our camper down the highway and set it right next to the Little River. And there we stayed for the week on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies.

We did the things you do on the Peaceful side, like whittling.

Skipping stones.

Rocking and listening to guitars on porches.

And smiling a lot.

We even had our own litte riverside RibFest.

He does eat...I promise.
We made sure to take time to appreciate the beauty of the Smokies, both the grand

and the small.

But we thought we needed a break from the Peaceful side of things. All the serenity was making us a little stir crazy, so we decided to venture over the ridge, through the valley to the Not So Peaceful side of the Smokies.  This is a place we usually only pass through as it is the opposite of Peaceful, not in the violent, warring sense but in the rowdy, fun you can only have in Dolly Parton's backyard  sense. We went to Pigeon Forge.

We were stepping outside our vacation box and trying what the other half does. And this is where we landed. As the saying goes, when in P-Forge...

I'll admit we were lured by the "Kids Free" banner on the marquee sign, even though all that stuff on the Peaceful side we were doing was also free. But the show was funny and we all had some good belly-laughs. To sum it up, if you liked Hee-Haw, you would like this. If you didn't like Hee-Haw or don't even know what Hee-Haw was, you'd probably still like it if you like to laugh at caricatures of Southerners. Or if you like to laugh at real Southerners. It wasn't always clear where the real Southerner ended and the caricature began, both on stage and in the audience. Ahem.

But where is peephole in this story? The Kids Free sign isn't the only alluring thing around the Comedy Barn. There are funny little displays as you make your way from the parking lot to the box office. One of the displays is this enticing challenge

Who could resist the promise of seeing a man eating chicken?
And the Comedy Barn owners were smart to include the legal liability release statement. Looking into that peephole (clearly identified by the red arrows) is surely a personal risk, not to be taken without considering the consequences. Since I have been through it, I will tell you that the potential for nightmarish flashbacks is great. Are you ready for it? If so, scroll down at yer own risk...

Sorry, but you were warned.

We found the best way to remove that image from your psyche is to look at something peaceful and benign. So we drove quickly as we could back through the valley and over the ridge and found ourselves a Cove with mountain views and erased the Not So Peaceful image from our minds. Thankfully, it works every time.