I was a provisional scoutmaster at Camp Wauwepex, Nassau County’s scout camp. It was a hot August afternoon, and I had to do something with the troop. So I posted the word: we were going to the Rodeo Grounds. There was nothing attractive about the place but its name. It was mostly hip high scrub oak—the tall shade trees were in the distance.
“OK, each patrol make a fire.” They needed that skill to pass their Second Class Scouting test, and they’d learn something about the exigencies (from the Latin exigere, to go through) of life. There was no water available, so when we were ready to leave, they had to empty their canteens to put out the fires. Talk about what I made them go through!
I like to show people the beauties of life, and I regret that I showed them only that they had to go through some tedious things in life. There were no doubt such things as salamanders, toads, and even rabbits hiding in the scrub, and though they loved fire building, they had to empty their canteens before the road back. (I made sure the fires were out.) Se la vie, mon ami.