The Water Source
Short Story Day 95 of 365
For five full hours, leaders and members of Scout Troop 921 had been searching for the final water source of the day. Their maps had indicated that they were searching in the right area, but all physical signs showed the creek had dried up. Unfortunately, eight years had passed since the map was published.
With 17 men and boys on the two-day hike, one of them was bound to be find a water source nearby.
Leaders and scouts alike were tired, hot, sweaty, hungry, and irritable. Packing a minimum of 20 pounds of gear and food in their knapsacks, most lamented about not packing an extra canteen.
That was all moot, though, because they were now on a quest. Leadership knew the entire creek couldn’t have dried up so they were searching for its source.
Now, nobody ever accused First Class Scout Jay Denning of using the brains God had gifted him with. When Assistant Scoutmaster Tim looked over at Jay, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Jay was emptying out his canteen onto the ground.
Assistant Scoutmaster Tim rushed over to Jay and began using words and phrases that would make sailors and MMA fighters blush. Red in the face, Assistant Scoutmaster Tim said some rather unkind words about Jay’s heritage, ancestry, and upbringing. Jay didn’t seem bothered by the five-minute rant. Perhaps he’d heard it all before. Some marveled that Assistant Scoutmaster Tim never used the same combination of derogatory words twice the entire time, a rare skill to have for occasions such as this.
Fortunately, there weren’t many witnesses to Assistant Scoutmaster Tim’s tongue lashing lest he be court-martialed by a jury of peers or something. Others who heard the irate Assistant Scoutmaster would undoubtedly deny he said a word harsher than, “Gee, Jay, it may not be a good idea to empty your water while others are searching for water.”
By the time Assistant Scoutmaster Tim was finished, it was crystal clear to Jay that what he was doing was perhaps not a good idea, so the witnesses wouldn’t have been wrong in that interpretation.
Grossly understated, but not wrong.
It wasn’t long after that that one of the three Tenderfoots in the troop stumbled upon a small stream so they could all eat, drink, and wash up there for the evening.
Decades have passed since the ‘bonehead incident’ as Assistant Scoutmaster Tim Denning likes to call it, but he’s not shy on retelling his grandkids about what their Daddy was doing with the precious water that day. He’s since softened his version of what he said to his son that day, but the little tykes probably get the idea.
Scout leadership never promoted Tim to full Scoutmasterhood, and many think it’s because of that ‘bonehead incident.’
It’s safe to say that Assistant Scoutmaster Tim really wasn’t a forgive and forget kind of guy.