September 17-19, 2004, our troop headed to Old Kia Kima for a reunion with men who had been
boys in the troop years ago under Buddy Irwin. The reunion was to dedicate a bridge built
using funds from the Buddy Irwin Memorial Fund.
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We set out on the trip at 7:00pm. Friday, September 17th. We knew this meant we would be arriving at
camp rather late. We arrived at around 11:00pm and set up camp.
Somebody needed the hammer to drive the tent stakes. Actually, everyone needed it.
The ground at Dry Bones was SO HARD the stakes wouldn't penetrate without a hammer.
In the morning, however, our campsite didn't look too bad...
Not far away was the Camp Cherokee Waterfront. Beautiful inn the morning light.
After a cold breakfast we got in the bus and trekked over to Old Kia Kima. We met many folks
there who had been in the troop many years before, and still had a strong interest in the troop
and what it was doing.
Here Brian Oxner is talking over old times with Don Joyner.
The Ole 97 Covered Bridge was simply unbelievable. Across the front is a wooden plaque bearing
the words 'On My Honor' which you can barely see in this shot, along with the Scout Law along
the edge of the roof.
Here is a permanent dedication plaque encased in lucite.
Here Brian Oxner, a Current Assistant Scoutmaster, is lost in his memories of his days along
the Philmont Trails.
Here is a photo of Buddy teaching Trees to one of the scouts.
Here is a shot of the river flowing past the camp, right by the old boat dock, just west of the covered bridge.
Here some of the older scouts gather at the bridge. More arrive every few minutes. In this shot David
Merritt is taking in the sights while Buddy Osborne scratches his ear in the background. (actually,
he's talking on his cellphone)
Jim Dawkins, a blind Eagle Scout from the troop, was there with his seeing-eye dog.
The dog got a neckerchief too!
One man, David Hicks, drove practically straight from California in 23 straight hours driving time,
in order to be there for the dedication.
One of our Life Scouts, Justin McMullin, teaches our newest scout, Jed Porter, how to tie
some knots on our knot pole.
Meanwhile, Umpy Osborne formally dedicated the Ole 97 bridge.
Jim Moore delivered a message also on the OKKPA and gave a brief description of what donations had done.
He also laid out plans to hire a permanent ranger when funds would support it.
Then he presented Umpy with a plaque to thank him for his outstanding efforts in organizing the
alumni of Ole 97.
After the presentations we had lunch courtesy of the Alumni Organization. While the presentation
was going on, the scouts in the troop had put up a 'Camp Entrance' beside the bridge.
Mark Rooks borrowed my 12-string (actually 11-string!) guitar and had a jam session with the
boys in the troop.
Meanwhile I got a shot of one of the 'natives' at OKK
That evening we had Barbeque with the alumni and with the OKKPA.
We stuck around for a campfire with the OKKPA, and what a campfire it was!
I've never seen flames like that from our own campfires!
After the campfire was over (and it was quite late) we came back to camp. Most of the boys
crawled into bed, but the older scouts and scouters stayed up for a bit, and Todd Rooks,
Mark Rooks, Ben Cook, and Daniel Cook came by for a quick visit. Ben Cook brought his collection
(a VERY impressive one!) of international neckerchiefs that he traded for at the World
Jamboree in 1983.) Richard Sims got one of those wonderful prizes. Ben was careful to
charge him that he should pass the prize on when the time came, to another young scout when Richard was grown.
Then we gazed at the stars (more than you will EVER see anywhere within 100 miles of Memphis!)
You could see the milky way trailing across the sky like a fog of diamonds.
All this late-night activity was too much for Richard, who could barely get up in the morning.
He had to get up, however, so that his tent could come down.
After breakfast we set up a tomahawk throw. It was rather difficult getting the rotation
and distance right for a good stick. Justin McMullin hit the supports and almost chopped
the lashing in two. And on the next throw that's what he actually did!!
Mark Stroud got in the act, landing 16 consecutive 'stick's.
Just before heading out, we had a short chapel service led by Ted Lyons. Then we policed
the area for trash, and headed out.
All in all, it added up to a very memorable trip. The boys got a chance to meet many of the
men who had been in scouting before they were born, and get a glimpse of the heritage the
troop has. Many thanks to Umpy Osborne for inviting us to come!
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