Well, after five years of den meetings, and (for me) 3.5 years of cubmastering, it’s over. Now that Evan is in Boy Scouts, we’ve left that former life behind. But still, I begin to wax nostalgic and hark back to our very first outing with the cubs. Our tiger cub den had just formed and the leader had planned our first get together. A hayride!

This was at a local ranch that, like several around here, supplements their income by allowing city slickers to come out, ride on a wagon, burn a few marshmallows and then go home. Nobody knew anybody else (except Melissa of course, who knows everybody) so everyone was on their best behavior. We were dutifully towed about the place on a wagon covered with hay by one of the ranch hands. This was a ranch that boards horses so there were horses everywhere who were friendly enough to come up to the wagon occasionally and try to grab some hay for a snack. Apparently, they thought hay that had been wallowed on by young humans might taste better than the stuff they had. I guess the hay’s always greener on the wagon.

We rolled up to the picnic site and proceeded to start a fire. Actually, a ranch hand did it. Never mind matches and kindling; he soaked the woodpile with diesel fuel, applied his lighter and that was it. We broke out the hot dogs. At this point, the official ranch dog made his appearance; a mangy mongrel who knew that the potential for dropped weinies was pretty high so it was worth his while to hang around.

We warmed weinies, burned marshmallows, picked at salads and generally had a good time getting to know each other and keeping the boys from slipping their hotdogs to the dog. All the while, un-noticed by us, the horses crept closer and closer. I don’t really know why. Maybe they were just grazing in our direction or maybe they were curious about something but we looked up and there they were. Everybody thought it was cool until one of the moms decided that several tons of skittish horses probably shouldn’t be around her little darling. I don’t remember who it was but she was a wimp; one of those many women who are always saying this or that isn’t safe. Those horses weren’t bothering us but she decided to shoo them away anyway.

Well, you know, that’s the dog’s job. He knew it well and as soon as he saw that horses needed to be directed, he made his appearance again. He shot out from the other side of a fence and went barking after the horses. The horses reacted immediately and took off running away from us and as they did, one of them broke wind loudly.

I didn’t know horses farted!  Apparently, neither did any of the little boys. The volume was impressive. The boys’ response was immediate. Their little faces lit up with delight like they do on Christmas morning and they hooted with laughter. Oh boy, they thought that was funny.

Several moms looked at each other with that smirk that said:

“Well, that’s disgusting but I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear it which is ludicrous since it was a fart you could hear a quarter mile away and now these boys are going to laugh and talk about it for the next half hour but I’m just going to try and ignore the whole thing.”

It was a smirk that said a lot. These were mostly women from the country club who I didn’t know very well at the time who all had expensive-looking clothes, cars, and manicures so all us adults just stood there and said nothing. All the while, I wanted to howl with laughter along with the boys.

Well, that was long time ago but it left a vivid memory with me as I’m sure it did with all of them too. It was a long time before we had another party that could compare with that one. Not what you would call a Kodak moment but it was a moment of some sort.