Diary of a Scout Leader: The Gentle Call of Home

By Richard Mabey Jr.


Our story so far: It is now Wednesday, late morning, on the twenty-fifth of June of 1969. I had just given my article, about what scouting meant to me, to Mr. Marino, the Editor-in-Chief of the Lincoln Park Journal. I was so very happy that Mr. Marino liked my article and told me that he planned on publishing in his next edition. On my way, walking home, I stop at Moe’s Sweet Shop to buy a Batman comic book. Mary Tafano is there with her friends. Mary is very kind to me and offers to help me paint the interior of Thorpe Hall. I leave Moe’s Sweet Shop and begin my walk home. While walking home, several landmarks bring back a myriad of memories to me.


In my nostalgic walk up Main Street, from Moe’s Sweet Shop to home, I finally arrived at the top of West Drive. There, standing atop the country lane, I could see my old home from an angle that I had not looked at the old farmhouse in a long time. I was weary and worn and the humble farmhouse was almost calling me to the warmth, security and love that abided within its walls.


I walked along Route 202, which was also known as Main Street, taking in the majestic splendor of the old Mabey Homestead. I then walked down Mabey Lane. The little country road once was a ribbon that led one all the way to the old Mabey Icehouse. Now, it simply stopped a ways down at the home that my grandfather had built when he was a young man.


I walked to the driveway of my house and for a moment or two, took in the wonderful scene of the tall, towering maple tree upon which I had built my three-tier tree fort. There beneath the canopy of maple leaves, humbly stood my sister Patti’s little dollhouse. It was essentially my sister’s clubhouse, a refuge for her and the two neighborhood girls, who were both close to Patti’s age.


As I looked at the cute little dollhouse, I saw my dear, sweet, gray striped cat, Little One, sitting beside the small white building. He looked up at me as if to be calling me home. As strange as it may sound, when Little One came over to me. It was as if he was welcoming me home. I picked up the cute little cat and held him in my arms. He looked up at me, and eyeball to eyeball almost spoke to me. It was as if my 15-year-old self was his daddy and he was thanking me to be held in the security of my arms.


At that moment in time, I noticed that Patti’s white, wood-framed dollhouse was in dire need of being painted. For one split-second, I felt a deep, heart-felt questioning that flowed from the core of my soul. I had put so much time, hard work and effort into painting the inside of Thorpe Hall, I neglected the painting needs in my own backyard. I was now only half-way through painting Thorpe Hall and I still had to paint the kitchen, the downstairs hallway and the five or six classrooms on the first floor. I took a deep breath. My beloved cat gently purred as I petted his forehead.


A gentle summer’s breeze swirled about me. I felt the presence of the Divine Spirit calling me home. My little cat looked up to me, as I held him in my arms. For one solitary moment there were no worries about SAT tests, final exams, book reports, term papers and the bullies at Boonton High. There were no worries about the time table to complete this vast painting project of the inside of Thorpe Hall, and figuring out how to raise more money to buy more paint.


There was only the warmth of the sun shining brightly from the heavens, a gentle breeze, the comfort of the shade of the old maple tree and a beloved little cat purring in my arms.


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.


To be continued.

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