I was a cub scout den mother. There, I said it. This is critical information key to understanding the story I am going to tell. My best friend Deb and I were co-leaders for our sons' cub scout den. I came to it by virtue of a moment of insanity and anger when I realized I could not complain about the way an organization was run unless I was willing to step in to facilitate a change. For the record this occurred about the time I had read Steven Covey's, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and was feeling empowered by my "roles" and personal mission statement which long ago got buried by the myriad corpses of self improvement books and plans, diet books and exercise videos consumed by me.
Not only was I a leader but, in my zeal to make a change, I was the Pack 147 secretary for whom the responsibility of planning large pack activities and correspondences fell upon. And so it was, I was the designated writer of the letter in response to our Chamber of Commerce's sudden refusal to pay an agreed upon sum for services provided during Byronfest.
Byronfest ( which will be an article of it's own ) equates to one big drunkfest during the weekend after the 4th of July. With three separate stages featuring bands from throughout the midwest, two adjoining beer gardens, the Taste area for food and a carnival among the slew of activities scheduled for the weekend, it is a mega money maker for Byron and requires a town full of volunteers to pull off. One of the fundraisers for Pack 147 was a clean-up crew that showed up Saturday and Sunday mornings bright and early to clean up the beer garden area. A deal had been struck between a scout "official" and a crony from the chamber whereby they would pay $500 to the Pack in exchange for clean-up services. This deal was made in the early years of Byronfest, but with the influx of new people and attrition of the scouts. . .the players were no longer in the game. And being a small town, the Pack continued to fulfill their portion of the deal until we received "The Letter." When "The Letter" arrived a month after Byronfest, we opened it with anticipation only to find a check for $50 and and explanation. Basically and eloquently written by the Chamber Representative, who, I am sure was directed to word it with a kind firmness, it simply stated:
Please find enclosed a check for $50 for services rendered during Byronfest. After a meeting to discuss disbursement, we agreed on this sum for several reasons. . . .blah, blah, blah. And finally, we did not see any of your fine young men on either morning working to clean the area in any capacity. Therefore, please accept this check and we thank you for all your work over the years.
Directed by the Pack Leader to send a letter of "thanks" back to the Chamber, I penned the following:
Dear Ms. Cxxxxxxxx,
Thank you for your generous check of $50. Being a service oriented group that attempts to teach our boys the virtue of honesty and hard work, we are grateful fr any opportunity to raise funds for Pack activities. Perhaps you are new to this community? It has always been the practice of Pack 147 to raise funds through adult services. Ergo, we have never sent our fine young men into the beer gardens of Byronfest the morning after to clean up. We do not feel that an environment that promotes public drunkenness and urination into the wee hours of the morning, nor the grounds covered with vomit, used prophylactics, and discarded underwear is an environment conducive to raising well adjusted boys. Blab, blah, blah.
Very truly yours,
Pack 147 Secretary
Stuck it to them, didn't I? High 5's all the way around!!
That letter has haunted me in the past few years. I had fun writing it and pictured the person I sent it to reading it and getting all flustered. It was a great vision until about 3 years ago. Three years ago, I was fortunate enough to become friends with 2 of the kindest people you can imagine. Their son and my son are good friends and have run together on the Track team that has gone down state for 4 years. Just spending time with them makes me smile. Who are they? Yeah, you guessed it-- Ed and Beth Cxxxxxxxx. I've never mentioned the letter to her. . . but I guess now she knows, huh Beth!
In Byron, the ubiquitous 6 Degrees of Separation is really only 1.5 and everyone is someones cousin. It pays to talk nice because the person you blast may become one of your best friends!