He wanted me to be an Eagle Scout.
And so each Friday night he drove me out
and dropped me at the Legion Hall which housed
the local troop of hoodlums who caroused
drunk and disorderly for two interminable hours
pouring beer on cars, trampling flowers
and beating up on tenderfeet like me
who, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,

brave, clean and reverent, couldn't earn
the merit badge for meanness and deception
the loose abusive troop leader required,
the secrets he insisted that we shared.
I let my father down, wept my way out:
a tattletale, a tenderfoot, no Eagle Scout.

- Ronald Wallace

© 1995.

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