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Leaving the airport parking lot this morning I pull up to the toll booth, there I exchange a knowing look with the man taking my money. The name Chuck is on his shirt, his face is age worn of a tough life, some front teeth are missing, his gray hair is pulled back in a pony tail. After paying him the parking fee he looks back with that knowing look again, I ask “Chuck what’s your last name?” he tells me and I say “our boys were in Scouts together”. “I just dropped my son Matthew off to fly out to Kansas for a teaching job interview”. He said “oh?” I said “Good seeing you Chuck”. He said “yea”. There’s not much time to chat with the gate opened to let me pass.

Twenty years ago in Boy Scouts Chuck was a single father, his mother was one of the pack leaders and kept both Chuck and his son in line, she was still raising Chuck and her grandson too. Chuck was a great guy, just a big fun-loving kid. They lived across the street from the Lutheran church where the pack meetings took place and were very involved in the church also.

It was a bittersweet encounter that had me reminiscing about little eight year old Matthew and our scouting adventures.



  1. Bittersweet indeed. It’s always a shock to see people we haven’t seen in a long time (because WE don’t age or change!), but when it’s clear they’ve not had an easy go of it, it’s a double shock.

    • yea, my thoughts were about Matthew going off on his own, kind of like the first time he went to Scout Camp by himself… then I run into old Scout parent Chuck… a double bittersweet.

      (Matthew just confirmed the job today, so he and I will have a moving-van roadtrip next week) 🙂 😦

  2. Oh wow! Congratulations Matthew! And bittersweet for you all!

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