A Scout is Courteous
"Did I Tell
You About My Glass Eye?"
It should say that "A Scout
is a Gentleman instead of "Courteous". However, courtesy goes beyond
that of good manners and proper eating around a table or bench. It runs
over into our daily lives and makes it much easier for people to be around
My "final exam" of courtesy
came while I was an undergraduate student at Eastern Kentucky.
Richmond's Frisch's resturant
is now a video store, located at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and the
Eastern By-Pass in the campus town. I do not know when it opened, but
during the five years I stayed at Eastern, it has brought me many memories
and provided the basis for many of the stories I tell in this book and
the speeches I have made over the past few years.
Frisch's -- part of the
nationwide "Big Boy Resturants" chains headquartered in Ohio -- also provided
me with many new friends and has helped me to reaquaint myself with many
A cup of coffee, a piece
of pie, some conversation and on occasion a newspaper was all I needed
to escape the confusion, hustle, and general chaos of campus and personal
living. I have talked with girlfriends and friends whom are girls; classmates;
ROTC "generals" whom thought that they and only them hold the keys to
future battlefield success (and in one case I know of, was right!); Scouting
leaders and junior Scouting leaders and former Scouting leaders.
Jannine and I found the
She found me -- sitting
at a table across from the center of the resturant. "Hey", she said, looking
at me as I picked up my coffee cup. "You're a ---you're Mike Walton, the
Scout guy, aren't you?" I grimanced at first, being called "the Scout
guy" instead of something else not so revealing.
I guess, though, if one
was to wear his Scout shirt across campus on Tuesdays, no matter what,
somebody would start calling you "the Scout guy" too.
"Yeah...I'm the guy. Hi.
Have a seat please." She did, right across from me, and then I added,
"Who are you?" Jannine Hardiman recognized me as a Student Senate candidate
before she knew me as the "Scout guy", she explained. She said that she
had been watching me, but I haven't seen her. She was a person I would
have noticed in a heartbeat. Everything about her was perfect: she was
the perfect height, weight, shape. Her hairstyle and even her coyness
was just enough to catch the eyes of any male attracted to beautiful coeds
on the campus. Her major did not hurt things, either.
In my day, we called students
working on degree programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in
Home Economics and Consumer Education "working on their "Mrs." ".
However, with all of that
going for her, she had a slight flaw. I could not keep my eyes from wandering
there, which is why I failed my Scout Law "final" on the point of courtesy.
She had a pair of rather
beautiful green eyes to match her almost almond-colored hair. One that
moved; the other just looked at you without blinking or moving.
As she sipped her coffee
and chattered on about New Hampshire (her home state) and the cold weather
and the beauty of it all, I was impressed by the way she behaved. I mean,
if I was mono-sighted (having the use of one eye) and I was trying to
date or make an impression upon a girl, I would tend to be holding my
hand up near my eye or at least trying to make some attempt to hide it.
Not this girl.
I finally admitted what
I was so rudely doing. "I know", she said, "and at least you had the guts
to say it. You've never believe how many guys spend the entire date looking
at my eyes and when I ask what they are looking at, they give me some
crap about "nothing"." I smiled and then took another drink from my large
I asked her to share with
me how did she lose the other eye. "Not here," she replied, insuring that
I get the "F" I deserve in Courteous. I could have slapped my face for
asking such a stupid request but I was genuinely interested....now that
I could admit that I was looking instead of stealing glances at the glass
eye. Jannine never did tell me how she lost it and I never asked again.
We never dated. We would
somehow meet each other at the Frisch's, sometime running into each other
at dinner time, or during the busy lunchhour, or over a slow long weekend.
She just wanted to sit and talk about classes, what's good to eat and
what's full of empty calories (like the coffee we both were "addicted"
to), and to hear my many stories of Scouting and the guys that share the
space on the floor where I lived across and up the hill from the resturant.
The owners of the Frisch's
moved their resturant to the northern end of the city, away from the campus
because amazingly enough, he was not getting enough business there. Two
months after they left, a famous video store bought the building and transformed
it into another location of their nationwide video outlet.
Once I started work for
the Boy Scouts in Jackson, I seldom ran into her. I did see her, however,
on the day of her graduation, since it was mine as well. She was accompained
by a handsome man, stopping to take pictures of the campus and his friend
Never let your guard down
and try to practice your skills of being a gentleman all of the time.
You may never know when you need the skills of good manners, of being
understanding and kind, and of being aware of your surroundings. Those
are all skills of courtesy.
I hope that when you have
to take your final in this Scout Law, that you pass with flying colors.
Now where does that fork and knife go again??
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle)