Scout is Helpful
A Scout is helpful. He finds
ways to be of service to others and cares about others. A Scout never accepts
favors nor money for his service or for Good Turns to others.
In Saint Patrick's Cemetary,
alongside the markers of our war heroes and family members of war heroes
stands a smaller marker. Underneight a large tree, so that in the spring
and summer its greenness almost casts a cool shadow over the site, is
the place in which Lani, age 6, is resting.
Resting until the Good
Lord breathes life again into her body.
It is hard to imagine that
a little girl whose life made you glad to be a person is laying there,
eyes closed as if she was taking one of her famous "beauty naps" on a
blanket; puffed cheeks ready to start talking at any momment; or, as she
had done to me when she did not get her way, to try and bite hands and
Lani was one of my younger
brother Mitchell's "little friends". She, another little girl named B.J.,
and several other male "little ones" roamed the back and front yards with
Mitch. She became my friend shortly after she hammered on our door one
morning wanting someone to "push me". Trying to get rid of the pesky child,
I took her by her little hand and led her to the swing seat on own end
of the building. Lani climbed on board and I pushed her higher and higher
to the delight of the child -- and myself.
While my parents would
have "better things to do" witht me than for me to play with younger children,
I played "cars". Lani's
favorite ones were the fire and police cars. She always wanted to move
them, to pretend she was the fireman. She always wanted to do "the fire
sounds", the sirens. She did a pretty good job of it, too.
I always noticed the bruises
and bumps on Lani's body. Sometimes it would hurt her so bad to move her
arm or her leg when she played in the sand. Those days, she would get
up, collect her cars and say "I go home now", tearfully. One afternoon,
I dusted off the playground sand from my clothing and followed her down
to her parent's apartment. I confronted an angry-looking young woman --
Lani's mother -- and was told to "mind my own business".
Later, while on a weekend
away from college during the summer, I found out that Lani was sick and
in the hospital. I brought a fresh bunch of flowers to her at Ireland
Army Hospital, along with a toy fire engine. We played cars on the edge
of her bed.
Lani died the following
Because I was at summer
school, trying to catch up with some classes I've missed due to my new
Scouting work, I could not attend the funeral. I did not go home for almost
a month afterwards, and seeing little girls -- especially a little girl
that the local TV stations in Lexington, Kentucky were showing as part
of a commerical, holding flowers and looking "at you" -- was extremely
hard for me to deal with for a long while.
Every spring afterwards,
until I left to go overseas, I have broken camping trips, dates and personal
pleasures to take a quiet walk alone through St. Patricks' Cemetary, located
between the golf course and the Custer Drive housing area. It is not far
from Rose Terrace -- the housing is considered part of the Rose Terrace
military community, and it is not far from the main entrance to Fort Knox
along Chaffee Avenue. Sometimes, I would place flowers on the ground near
her headstone, or read a short Bible verse in which Jesus once said "...suffer
the little children", or just talk.
Twice, when I was sitting
there, listening to the trees rustle, fire engines would rush down Chaffee
Avenue toward Rose Terrace or Van Voorhis to fight a fire.
Their sirens sounded like
Lani to me.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle)
1996 Settummanque! for Blackeagle Service