Diary of a Scout Leader: Five Fifteen

By Richard Mabey Jr.

Our story so far:

It is the first day of summer vacation of 1969. I am 15 years old and have just completed my sophomore year at Boonton High School. It is nearing high noon and I have spent the entire morning painting Thorpe Hall of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, for my Eagle Scout project. After eating my lunch, a man comes to the door and begins banging on the door and demanding that I let him in. Fortunately, I had locked the door. I try to huddle out of sight of this man, who is continuing to hammer on the door and scream for someone to let him in. Shortly after that, my mom knocks on the door of Thorpe Hall. My sister, Patti, is with Mom. I clean up and we all go to Moe’s Sweet Shop. Cute Mary Tafano is at Moe’s. To my utter surprise, Mary asks me to her birthday party on Saturday. Later that afternoon, I help Mom to get supper ready, while my sister Patti plays in the yard, with her neighborhood friend. Our story continues.


My sister and I, many years ago, standing beside Dad’s Ford Econoline Pick Up Truck. In the
background you can see my old tree fort atop the apple tree. The swing set was placed beneath the
apple tree, shortly after this photo was taken

I had finished peeling and cutting the potatoes. Mom had just finished peeling and cutting the carrots. I looked up at the clock, just to the left-hand side of the kitchen window. It was 10 minutes past five. Mom had already added water to the potatoes and they were cooking on the stove, along with the carrots. The roast was in the oven.


Dad would be pulling into the driveway, with his Ford Econoline pick-up truck, any minute now. Dad usually got home about quarter after five, every afternoon. He would come into the kitchen carrying his Star-Ledger and Newark Evening News, beneath his arms, with his lunch pail in his right hand as he turned the doorknob with his left hand. As soon as he entered the kitchen, he would always comment, in one way or another, that supper cooking on the stove, “sure smelled good.”


I sat at the kitchen table, watching my Mom stir the pots of potatoes and carrots. As Mom opened the door to the oven, to check how the roast was cooking, I looked out the kitchen window, to see Dad pull into the back driveway. I watched my sister jump off of her swing and run to Dad. Patti gave Dad a great big hug and the two began walking into the old farm house, hand in hand.


As soon as Dad opened the kitchen door, coming in from the side porch, he put down his Star-Ledger and Newark Evening News on the kitchen cabinet. He placed his lunch pail on the kitchen table. Then, he gave an exaggerated act of inhaling the aroma of the kitchen.


“Sure smells good. Janet, you got the Prince of Wales coming to eat with us tonight?” Dad jokingly said to Mom.


“Daddy, we don’t have a prince coming for supper tonight,” Patti shouted out to Dad.


“Well, it must be the Mayor’s coming for supper with us,” Dad jokingly added.

“No, Daddy, the Mayor’s not coming for supper either,” my sister replied then laughed.


“Well, son, how’d your day of painting go?” Dad asked me.


“I got about a quarter of the painting done,” I replied.


“And, he had some problems too. Someone tried to break in to Thorpe Hall, while Richie was painting there,” my mom told my dad in a rather serious tone of voice.


“Well, is everything okay?” Dad more or less asked both of us.


“Everything’s okay, but I don’t like the idea of Richie being alone all day in that church hall, with things like this happening,” Mom steadfastly stated.


“If that mean man broke into the church, my brother would just beat him up,” my sister interjected.


“I gotta admit I was a little scared. Some fella just kept pounding on the side door, you know Dad, the door by the outside steps,” I told my father.


“Beat him up. My brother would just beat him up,” my sister kept chanting.


“Maybe I better call Chief Tompkins after supper. He’s on the troop committee. Maybe he’ll have one of his men keep an eye out at the church tomorrow,” Dad said to Mom.


“Well, that’s good, but Dick, I’m telling you, I don’t like Richie being alone in that church hall all day,” Mom firmly stood her ground.


“It’ll be alright, Janet. Chief Tompkins’ll have one of his men drive by a few times, tomorrow,” Dad replied to Mom’s protests.


“My brother’ll just beat that man up. That’s what he’ll do. My brother’ll just pulverize that mean man,” Patti continued to chant.


We ate supper shortly. Then Dad read his Star-Ledger and Newark Evening News, in his favorite chair in the living room as he watched Walter Cronkite on our old television. My sister and I helped Mom clean up after supper.  In a few minutes Dad called Chief Tompkins and told him what had happened, that some man kept banging on the locked door at Thorpe Hall of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church. And, Chief Thomas thanked Dad for letting him know about it and that he would have one of the Police Officers keep an eye on Thorpe Hall during the day.


For the most part, I have found that truth is not only found in the sacred doctrine of religious orders. For often times, truth is found in the most plain and mundane moments in life. Sometimes, we may think that a moment in life is too unimportant and ordinary to hold profound meaning. And, sadly, we often miss the love, the grandeur, the beauty and the charm of the most ordinary and seemingly unimportant moments of life. For love and truth come to us in a variety of ways.


To be continued.


Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com. Please place the wording “My Life Weekly” in the subject line.




#1: Dad and my sister Patti at Gingerbread Castle, many years ago.


#2: My sister and I, many years ago, standing beside Dad’s Ford Econoline Pick Up Truck. In the   

      background you can see my old tree fort atop the apple tree. The swing set was placed beneath the

      apple tree, shortly after this photo was taken.

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