A Scout is Friendly


A Scout is Friendly. He is a friend to all and a brother to all other Scouts. He does these things in a spirit of world and community brotherhood, without regard for a person's religious or racial background or heritage. For a good Scout recognizes the important aspect of having friends -- someone to help guide you to a new site, to share campfire stories, to help erect a tent or to start a fire. True, you can do all of these things by yourself, but there's something uplifting about having someone else there with you to help.

A Scout is especially friendly to females, to elderly persons and to children. This goes back to the days of the knights of old, whose responsibilty lie beyond that of just protecting the cities and defending it against enemies. A good Scout realizes the difference in being pushy and demanding and insistant and in being friendly. Some persons do not need assistance -- and you should not take that as an insult or "put-down". They are realizing their own personal independence. Instead, you should try to assist them to do things for themselves.

Scouts do not wait for friends to come to them; they go to aid and meet new friends.

That is friendliness. So is a smile instead of a frown and a handshake instead of just a "hello".

Maxcine was not ugly. She was nowhere near pretty nor even very attractive to most boys. Maxcine was not even her name...I guess if you were named "Ethel", you too would want to use another name.

My mother called girls like Maxcine "plain janes". As a freshman, her body was a little slower to develop all of its natural curves and as a result, she was shunned by her fellow female friends. She had those large glasses with what seemed to have the bottoms of sodabottles attached. Her hair was also plain, just draping over her head, and always nicely combed and brushed. She would always wear pants; well, she did wear pants for a long time but that was to change.

She would also gain her first boyfriend. Me.

My first year of high school was a true wake-up call for me. I arranged my own scheldue. I had the "option" of attending class or not attending class and suffer the consequences. I was no longer in a classroom with "just freshmen". Some of my classes had juniors and seniors in them. I became a friend to just about a good third of the student body at the small high school (small by my own standards; Fort Knox High when I was there in 1973-77 was only 800 students large; neighboring schools had at least a thousand boys and girls crowding buildings and hallways.) I felt lucky.

Maxcine sat beside me in Civics class when she got sick. She threw up on my notebook and onto my desk and then the floor. I helped to get the wastebasket, but it was too late. Mrs. Stevens took the ill girl to the restroom around the corner and then to the nurse's office.

Mrs. Stevens returned to the classroom, where the noise level was loud and teasing. She asked if anyone lived close to Maxcine to take her homework to her. Although I knew that three of us lived in the same housing area, nobody raised their hands or even coughed. I finally raised my hand and told the teacher that I would do it.

That afternoon, I rode the number 5 bus to Rose Terrace and got off at the ninth stop as it made its way around the circular outside road which makes up the "main street" in the Rose Terrace Housing Area. I found Maxcine's home and cautiously knocked on the screen door.

Maxcine's brother came to the door.

"Hi, is Maxcine here? I have her homework from school". I smiled for effect.

Her brother yelled "MAXCINE!! It's your boyfriend!!"

"Whoa!!! I'm not her boyfriend!", I yelled. It was too late. I heard some thumping sounds and then Maxcine came to the door, smacking her brother on the backside of his head, telling him "I ain't got no boyfriend!"

"Hello." Then she added, "Hi Mike...sorry about the peabrained brother of mine. You ever had the mumps?" She held the door closed, awaiting my answer.

"Yeah, I had them about three years ago. Sorry about you being sick."

Maxcine let me in and asked me to have a seat in the kitchen. She then introduced me to her mother and excused herself as she went back upstairs to change clothes.

"Mike. Thank you very much for bringing Maxcine's homework home with you. I guess you figured out that she doesn't have many friends around here. Most of the kids here are in elementary school like Stanley, her brother..."

I nodded, adding, "...and those in high school are two or three grades higher than her. I know, I have the same problem." We then exchanged small talk about where I lived and about my family.

Maxcine came back downstairs, wearing a sundress which actually enhanced her slender body. I turned the chair around and commented on how nice the dress looked. It did look a lot better than those pants she has been wearing all of the time.

"My mother made this. She makes all of my clothes for me. She's really good at it.", she stated proudly, as she closed the front door. Something told me that she did not want anyone to see her in a dress. She kept looking at the windows as we talked.

"This is none of my business, Maxie, but why don't you wear dresses to school?"

She paused, then bowed her head. I started to apologize for my lack of tack, but her mother spoke up. "I don't know if you've noticed, but my husband doesn't make a lot of money. He's only a Staff Sergeant. With a child in college, Maxcine's older brother, and these two, money doesn't go a long way. That's why I make her clothes."

I was embarrassed and at the same time, looking at Maxcine's light summer dress, was impressed that someone could make something so "store-like".

"She could wear this one. I like it." Maxcine smiled at me. So did her mother.

"Can you stay for dinner, Mike. We're having roast and potatoes."

I accepted.

Maxcine and I continued to see each other in school and at her home, for she had to babysit her younger brother afterschool. But like the rest of reality in living on a military base, the Robinsons moved to Germany a month later, at the end of our freshman year. I got two postcards and two letters from her a couple of years later.

The last letter had a photo inside. There was E. Maxcine Robinson, no longer in that straight hairdo, with the bottlebotttom glasses and the straight hair...she had a perm and contacts. She was holding a newborn child, "her child" as she was so proud to write. I never heard from her again since. I know that her family later retired somewhere in Alabama.

My favorite image, however, was not the photo that she sent. It was the larger-than-life smile on her face on the last full day of freshman high school when she sat beside me in Civics. She had those same glasses on, and her hair was rolled and puffed up with lots of hairspray.

She was in a *dress*, that same sundress I first saw her with. And I was not the only boy admiring her new look and confidence.

(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle)

© 1996 Settummanque! for Blackeagle Services

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