Scout is Clean
When I was
growing up in Rose Terrace, just about everyone did car washes
to raise money for some organization or another. A car wash was cheap
to run....get some detergent, some sponges and old shirts, towels and
some dishwashing liquid. And lots of water. Go out someplace hopefully
on a sunny, clear day, set up the signage, and you're in business!
Not a lot of people
spend time like they used to washing their cars. It used to be a Saturday
morning or afternoon ritual....but then, that's why we made a killing
doing those car washes!
This does not speak
highly for all of us Americans, for this has been our attitude as we enter
the nineties: we would rather have others to do our cleaning for us instead
of us doing it ourselves. As a Scout, we need to be aware that such an
attitude exists and must work hard with ourselves and others to disspell
the idea that "someone else is responsible for the cleanup"... we must
"clean as we go".
This means when we
go someplace, we don't leave paper around for someone else to pick up
after we have left. We don't leave cola cans on the ground or on a table
because "that's their job...to clean up after us". We don't dispose of
our waste in places other than those designed for our usage as such. This
is all common-sense stuff, things we perhaps learned as young children
but somehow once we got older, we have forgotten.
My father had some
really great advice about cleaning cars...or anything for that matter.
He should know, becuase before he was married to my mother, he was responsible
for cleaning barns and making them suitable for horses and other animals.
That was his job, and he did his job extremely well. He passed on his
cleaning techniques to his children and to soldiers as a Drill Sergeant.
He followed it himself.
Robert Walton would
say "You clean inside out. You start with the hard stuff inside the building,
and you get that all clean. Then, you get the outside looking nice and
clean. People notice the outside, and that's easiest to clean....but they
go inside the car, inside the house or building and that's
where they stay for a while. So while you make sure that the
outside is clean, you make double sure that the inside is cleaner."
He was right. When
inspecting a building, a weapon or even a soldier, the inspector spends
a little time looking at the exterior. He or she spends more time looking
inside, finding things that somehow the emphasis was missed upon. He asks
questions of the soldier, finding out what he or she doesn't know or is
not aware of.
While working as
a Paraprofessional, I went deep into the mountains of eastern Kentucky,
western West Virginia, northeastern Tennessee and the western tip of Virginia
to do much of my work. I saw some of the most run-down shacks, barns and
buildings which ever were built. My wife lived in one of those shacks,
which rested at the bottom of a hill back within a valley. Looking at
the outside of the building, one would never think that the owners had
lots of money. It was run-down, but neat. Clean as it could be and yet
showed years of wear and tear. Inside, the home was as neat and clean
as my own mother's and father's home. Everything was put away.
There was not a single
"dirty spot" anywhere in the home. The kitchen's flooring, while yellowed
with age, was so clean it almost glistened. Mildred's mother Elsie, a
redheaded woman suffering from the effects of "sugar", insured that even
the coffeepot where the instant coffee was heated from was clean. The
Vires had money....money earned from years of tobacco and corn farming.
When they sold the farm, they also sold much of their livelihood so that
they could live a little better up the road a bit. They bought a little
land, a smaller home. James Vires worked hard to build that shack into
a home fit for any American to live within. He was proud of his new place.
"Inside Out" has
another deeper meaning, I would find out later. My father never used profanity
inside his home, and forbid anyone else in his family from doing the same
thing. He also emphasized that anyone coming into his home doesn't "speak
trash". There was something strong about my father's ability to tell people
exactly what he meant without a lot of cussing. This was hammered home
to me when I observed first-hand my father's performance as a Drill Instructor.
A Drill Sergeant.
You know, the yelling,
screaming, "get down and give me 20", the "hup-two-three-four", guy that
tells new soldiers -- trainees, like his own son -- that was my dad. Without
the cussing. Not even once. I asked him once how did he manage to tell
people how dissatisfied he was in their performance or getting them to
go somewhere without doing all of the swearing like his peers do. "Son,
it's just not neccessary", he told me flatly. "You can find ways to tell
men to do what you want them to do without all of that stuff. Besides,
I think that it takes away from your professionalism. If you have to cuss
and swear out, do it because of something you did to yourself, not because
of something someone else does to you or because you don't have anything
better to say."
Whether I have been
cleaning a car, the house, or even my clothing, I try to make them as
clean as I can. When I talk with people, I try to talk as clean as I can
with them. I've taken all of that to heart. It's hard to be clean, in
thought, mind and spirit. It's hard to stay clean. It's hard and everyone
knows it, but a Scout is Clean. Try it....
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton
(Settummanque, the blackeagle)
1996 Settummanque! for Blackeagle Service