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Paskha in Crete

From “APRIL” Part 2


In Accordance with the Promise and the Law

Then . . . And Now . . .

The Way of the Cookie

Love Is a Bitch And It Has Puppies

Love Story

Losing Propositions

Finally, the English Edition!
Third Wish

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April 15, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The middle of April - 2015.
Stormy weather – wind, rain and snow showers, cold at night


After a mild cold front blew through the valley with gusty bluster and moved on
East into Colorado, there was a sudden silent stillness.
And in that stillness, I could hear - from down at the bottom of the hill on the
asphalt road – the scrabbly-rattle of something metal clattering across the pavement.
Odd – because there was no wind to blow things around . . .
As I walked down to investigate, I heard the sound again, but this time it was
accompanied by the gleeful shouts of small children.
I saw them as they ran off into the shadows of evening.

Kick the can.
They were playing I>kick the can.
The can was standing in the middle of the road, ready to be kicked again.
I did not kick it – but I was tempted.
Because I know this game.

To review:
A base is established and an empty metal can is placed there.
Someone is declared “it” – and he covers his eyes while all the other players run away and hide.
After counting to 100, the “it” tries to find the “hiders” – and if he does,
those who get found have to go stand by the base – by the can.

Those who have not yet been found may free those who have been caught by running in and kicking the can – before they, too, get caught by the “it”.
If this daring raid succeeds, all the players are free to run and hide again until
the “it” fetches the can and replaces it on base.

It’s just a jazzed-up form of hide-and-go-seek.
It’s a stupid game, in a way.

Because it’s almost impossible for whoever is “it” to guard the can while at the same time searching for those who are hiding – exhausting to be “it.”.
But in this case, the best part of the game is not hiding, or being “it” or, being freed - it’s kicking the can as dramatically as possible.
The harder, the further, the more noise made, the better.
It’s the can that makes the game.

This game may have a dangerous outcome.
One of the most memorable events of my childhood hangs on this enthusiasm for kicking the can in a mindlessly reckless fashion.
I think of it as The Great Can Catastrophe of Memphis, Tennessee.

Come sit on my porch. I’ll tell you the story.

Once upon a time, my mother and I had traveled from Texas to Tennessee for the annual reunion of her family – uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws, and outlaws.
I was the youngest and smallest and slowest and stupidest of a gang of cousins.
Which meant I was always the loser in whatever game we played together.
I never managed to kick the can.

One night we were out in the street playing – the cousins and their friends.
It was dark – the can was set up under a street light – the game was getting rowdy.
I, of course, had been caught right away, and was held prisoner at the base.
Suddenly, out the darkness, two boy cousins – two big ones who always bullied me – rushed out of the darkness from opposite directions intent on kicking the can and running over me at the same time.

They collided head-on, and fell back, sprawling senseless onto the street, bleeding copiously from their noses, looking like two victims of a gangland shooting.
Girl cousins started screaming, “They’re dead! They’re dead! They’re dead.”
Alas, I, who had nimbly stepped back just in time, could see that they were both still breathing.
Clearly not dead – too bad.
But I hoped they were at least paralyzed for life.

Uncles and Aunts poured out the front door of the host family home.
The sound of sirens was heard from afar.
A fire truck arrived, followed by an ambulance, and two police cruisers.
All with sirens wailing and red lights flashing.
Neighbors followed the emergency vehicles to the scene of the massacre.
My girl cousins continued screaming, “They’re dead, They’re Dead! They’ve killed each other.”

It took a while to sort things out – the two boy cousins were revived, dazed, but suffering no more than bloody noses and mild concussions.
The game was ended for the night.
But the memory of that event lingered on.

For years the family retold the tale of the Kick the Can Catastrophe.
And we cousins relished the thought that we had created so much uproar – fire truck, ambulance, cops, sirens, flashing lights – screaming girls – all that – wonderful!
The best part was, that for once, nobody got scolded or punished because we had really not done anything wrong – none of us were to blame – it was an accident in a game.
The perfect kid crime.

* * * * *

This memory rose up out of the swamp of my mind as I picked up the empty
Coors Beer cans the children at Pack Creek Ranch had left behind when they were called home.
I found that they had actually been using four cans in a stack.
They no doubt found them on the side of the road and abandoned them when they ended the game.

I admit I felt a little foolish standing there on the side of the road in the dim light of evening clutching four beer cans.
The people in the car that passed me cheered as they drove by.

There are always plenty of cans on the shoulders of Pack Creek Road.
See, we’re way out in the boondocks and people throw their beer cans out the windows of their cars because it’s not only illegal to drink while driving, but it’s illegal for there to be an open alcoholic beverage in the driver’s part
of the car – even if the driver isn’t drinking.
So – people drink up, and throw out – just in case the cops stop them.

Wait – don’t go away.
I’m not going to launch into a rant about littering or recycling.
Instead, I offer a meditation on aluminum beer cans.
I’ve often thought about them when I was walking the shoulders with a volunteer crew armed with big orange bags collecting litter.
Things have improved over the years – not nearly as much trash is to be found.
It’s mostly beer cans now – for the reason I’ve given above.
And, for some unknown reason, the cans are mostly Coors Beer.

So I did some research:
The Coors company in nearby Golden, Colorado, not only makes beer, they manufacture the aluminum cans as well.
Tasty light beer, in a lightweight container that’s strong and durable and stackable.
The can has a pop-top, and is recyclable when empty.
It’s called “The Silver Bullet.”
The cans are one of the most sophisticated pieces of engineering we encounter.
The product of more than 150 years of research and development.

The bauxite ore is mined in Dwellingup, Australia – smelted in Evansville,
Illinois, and rolled into paper thin aluminum sheets in coils as long as a mile.
Incredible machines turn the aluminum into cans, which are coated inside with a thin millimeter of epoxy before filling.
The cans are made with an assembly tolerance of 50 millionths of an inch, with a failure rate so small it can hardly be measured.
The people of the world go through about 180 billion aluminum beverage cans
each year.
If you stacked up all the cans produced in a year, the stack would be 13.5 miles high, reaching to the moon and far beyond.
The cost of each can to the manufacturer is about 10 cents, with a profit of about 2/3rds of a penny per can.

(I won’t go into the brewing of the beer, which is equally amazing – I’m just focused on the cans.)

Hang on now - I know I’m telling you more than you might want to know – and there’s lots more – but I’m almost done.

If the aluminum beer can was hand-made and limited in supply, it would be very expensive to buy one – with or without the beer.
As it is, you can get a six-pack for about $5.00.

You could make toys or art of jewelry out of the cans and the pull tops.
Or just throw the cans away when you’ve consumed the contents

And some kids might come along and make a game out of the empties.

And someone like me might come along, pick them up, and walk home in the dark, slightly stupefied by how amazing an ordinary thing can be.
And more than ready for a game of kick the can.
Want to play?

(For more about aluminum cans, go to Wikipedia or to “Google images” for aluminum cans .

link to this story

April 10, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The first week of April - 2015.
Clear sky, cool nights, warm days.

Happy Easter!
What? Am I not a bit late with that greeting?
Not if you are Greek Orthodox.
The Western and Eastern celebrations of Easter rarely coincide because of complicated calendar issues.
I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico last week – and the observance if Easter was somewhat low-key – a few stores were closed – special church services – and
egg hunts for children in the parks.
If I was in Greece this week, the celebration would be all-consuming.
I lived on the Greek island of Crete for long periods of time for 25 years, and
was often there for Easter – and wish I was there again this week.

Come, I’ll take you – with two reflections out of my memory:

* * * * *

(From my novel, THIRD WISH . . .)

In Crete, Easter is not a holiday weekend.
Paskha is a holy season, defining the quality of daily life long before the formal religious celebration.
Cretan Easter is a communal state of mind - even more pervasive in spirit than Christmas. December 25 is only a birthday, after all. So say the Cretans. Everybody has a birthday. But the rebirth-day at the heart of Easter is another matter.
Resurrection from the dead is the ultimate miracle.

“Christos ahnesti!” - Christ is risen! - is the greeting. 
And the reply is “Alithos ahnesti!” He is risen indeed.

Great Lent begins forty days before Easter with the celebration of Clean Monday - the day of the scouring of kitchens and the flying of kites. The spirit of the fast is still observed in the villages by most people, and observed in the cities by the older generation. While no meat is eaten, the rest of the fasting diet is a matter of personal conviction rather than rigid rules. Fruit, vegetables, bread, and some fish are common fare, and on some special days people eat even less. Such restraint is meant to focus the mind on the larger sacrifice of Jesus.

At the same time there is in the air an anticipatory joy.
The glory of spring in Crete is coming on with a green rush - the earth is reviving, launching flowers from its ancient soil.
Along with the return of abundant life, the Easter season is a time of return for those Greeks of the Hellenic Diaspora.
Daily conversation is filled with talk of reunions - who is going home elsewhere in Greece and who is coming home to Crete - especially from America, Australia, and Canada. Easter always means an in-gathering of family in a back-to-the-village migration.

Houses and churches are being cleaned and repaired. Gardens are being groomed. Lambs are being fattened for the slaughter. Orders are being placed for cakes and pastries. Wine barrels are being tapped and the wine tested. Kitchen supplies are checked and replenished. The self-control of the forty days of fasting will be compensated by the three-day indulgence of appetite beginning at 2:00 A.M. on Easter morning.  It is the sweetest time of the year if you are Cretan.
There is a word for this season of about-to-be: “ahnoixi” - spring - which comes from the verb “to open.”

Whatever one’s religious convictions or lack thereof, it is a moving experience to be caught up in this soulful celebrational season. One might easily begin to believe that Jesus lived out his life nearby, that it was the Turks who crucified Him, and that when He comes again, He will first appear in Crete and host a great feast.
At Easter. One could believe that. It is a working hypothesis.

* * * * *

(From a web-journal written in April, 2004 – from my home in the small seaside fishing village of Kolymbari.)

Suddenly - everything happens all-at-once.
One day it is cold and windy and raining. And the Cretans are sluggishly enduring the last dull days of winter.
The next day the weather turns warm, the sky blue, the land green, and the flowers explode from the soil.

Suddenly - in the towns and villages you hear German, Italian, English, French, Italian, and especially this year, since Greece is a hot ticket – Hebrew. Four charter flights a day from Israel. Why? Because there is a rare coincidence of Jewish Passover, and Western and Eastern Easter.

Suddenly - those Cretans who make their living from the tourist industry go mad trying to handle in one big week what is usually spread out over at least a month. The rental business rises like a high tide along the roadside from the town of Chania – cars, mopeds, bicycles, peddle boats, rooms, tours, whatever – and what is not for rent is for sale. Shops and restaurants that were shuttered and deserted last week are in full operation, and Zorba music fills the air all the way to town.

Opa! Yassas!

Suddenly - there are lambs to slaughter and bread to bake and clothes to buy. The churches and the monastery are decorated and everything that should be whitewashed is whitewashed – curbs, trees, walls, big rocks, and steps.

Between now and Paskha, the pace of life will intensify. Relatives are on their way already. The house must be cleaned. The garden must be tended. New clothes must be bought. Delight is the order of the season. And the only scandal is in not participating.

May no scandal be attached to my name!

Suddenly - it’s midnight and the bells ring and fireworks are lit off and the feast is on. Pilafi, horta, paidakia, kokoretsi, calitsunia, tsikoudia, wine, and fruita. Christos Anesti! Chronya Pollah! Eat! Eat! Eat!

And how would you be certain you had taken part?

If you wake late on Monday morning from satiated sleep to find your pillow wet from drool, because your body has been too enfeebled to move during the night;

If your bedroom smells like grilled meat, mown grass, charcoal smoke, and the vinegary vapor of village wine;

If your jeans and shirt on the floor are stained with blood, soot, grease, tomato pulp, chocolate, yogurt, and strawberries;

If the pockets of your jeans contain shards of crimson eggshells, balls of gold and silver foil and half a candy rabbit;

If the face you see in the bathroom mirror is blotched florid orange and pink and red, and the end of your nose, your cheeks and ears, and the back of your hands are swollen and sunburned;

If your eyes are bloodshot from smoke, and wine in excess;

If your head feels like a baked pineapple and your tongue seems too big for your mouth;

If your hands sting when the soap washes over the many small wire cuts you got from clumsily binding a small bleeding lamb’s corpse to the souvla, the long pronged steel turning rod;

If your wrists and elbows and shoulders ache from turning the souvla over the coals for three hours;

If your abdominal muscles hurt from laughing, and your stomach seems swollen as if you may never need to eat again;

If you cannot remember your real name, but you think it may be Yorgos or Demetrii or Kostas;

If the front door of your house is hung with a limp wreath of daisies,
poppies, and wild rosemary;

If all the dishes you own and some you do not are stacked unwashed in the kitchen sink, and there are heaps of uneaten cookies and cheese pies and the cold charbroiled head of a lamb on the counter;

And if you feel awful, but you don’t really care, because you know why, and it is a wonderful kind of awful, beyond all sense and reason;

Then you have strong evidence that you have survived Easter Sunday in Crete with friends; that you have helped dig the pit, spitted and cooked the lamb, eaten the wild greens, sopped up the oil with bread from a wood-fired oven, lay on old carpets in the green meadow under the almond trees, chased small children around the fields, drunk far more juice of the vine than hospitality required, and laughed and laughed and then laughed some more before falling asleep in the sun, and somehow finding your way home, to fling your clothes onto the floor and your body into your bed.

You have been Eastered to the max, Cretan style. Megalo Paskha!
You will have done your part.
No scandal will be attached to your name.

And despite how you might feel before at least three cups of black coffee on this late morning after, you will know that it is you who have died and been reborn - in the countryside of Crete - not far from the deep well of reckless delight.

If Jesus does come back some glorious Easter Sunday, it will be here.
So declare the Cretans.

And then – suddenly - it’s all over.

It is the Monday after Paskha – a day of recuperation for the Cretans and a day of return for the tourists. The ferries and charters haul most of the visitors away. Tomorrow the island eases back into a pace of sigah, sigah – slowly, slowly – from now till inevitable summer.

For all this fassaria – this general fuss and bother – ancient calmness remains.
It is April.
The blood-red poppies cover the hillsides here in this far end of western Crete.
The monastery bells still mark the hour at six o’clock, followed by the baa-ing of the sheep trudging homeward along the road below my house at dusk, their bells binging and bonging as they go.

Small owls call as evening fades over the wine-dark sea and snow-capped mountains. A warm breeze wanders over from Africa and into the hills of Crete, spreading the usual perfume of orange blossoms along the shore. At dawn the fishermen will go out in small boats and cast their nets in the sea, as fishermen have done for thousands of years. 

Wide awake in the deep silence and darkness of the post-Paskha night, I got up out of bed at three a.m. and went out on the porch to see if everything is all right.

For the time being, it is.

link to this story

March 29, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The end of March, the beginning of April - 2015.
Clear sky, cool nights, warm days.

I’ll be away for a week on a trip to Santa Fe, where my wife has the opening of her solo show at Gallery 901. See her website and Facebook page for details:

Meanwhile, March flows into April – bringing Spring with the flow of time. At this intersection, I always turn to the poetry of e e cummings, whose words I cannot improve upon – (best if read aloud):


“And still the mad magnificent herald Spring
assembles beauty from forgetfulness
with the wild trump of April: witchery
of sound and odour drives the wingless thing
man forth into bright air, for now the red
leaps in the maple’s cheek, and suddenly
by shining hordes in sweet unserious dress
ascends the golden crocus from the dead.

On dappled dawn forth rides the pungent sun
with hooded day preening upon his hand
followed by fay untimid final flowers
(which dressed in various tremulous armor stun
the eyes of ragged earth who sees them pass)
while hunted from his kingdom winter cowers
seeing green armies steadily expand
hearing the spear-song of the marching grass.

A silver sudden parody of snow
tickles the air to golden tears, and hark!
the flicker’s laughing yet, while on the hills
the pines deepen to whispers primeval and throw
backward their foreheads to the barbarous bright
sky, and suddenly from the valley thrills
the unimaginable upward lark
And drowns the earth and passes into light.

(slowly in life’s serene perpetual round
a pale world gathers comfort to her soul
hope richly scattered by the abundant sun
invades the new mosaic of the ground
- let but the incurious curtaining dusk be drawn
surpassing nets are sedulously spun
to snare the brutal dew, - the authentic scroll
of fairie hands and vanishing with dawn.)

Spring, that omits no mention of desire
in every curved and curling thing, yet holds
continuous intercourse – through skies and trees
the lilac’s smoke the poppy’s pompous fire
the pansy’s purple patience and the grave
frailty of daisies – by what rare unease
revealed of teasingly transparent folds –
with man’s poor soul superlatively brave.

link to this story

March 22, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
Third week of March, 2015.
Clear sky, cool nights, warm days.

I’ve been away in Arizona for the weekend to be the master of ceremonies at a celebration of the life of a dear friend of fifty years who recently died.
I had a packaged of tissues handy the whole time, not for the funeral but for another state of being almost as predictable as death and taxes – allergies in spring – and what my nose does to cope.
It’s sneezin’ season.
Here’s a meditation on the subject, a revision of something I wrote several years ago. Not much has changed. . . .

Warning: this is going to get gross – realistic – but still gross.


There’s pollen in the air this week - big time.
My sinuses are overworked – my nose is running mucus non-stop.
My explosive sneezes could set off car alarms and scare dogs.

I’m not alone.

Spring allergy season not only affects adults, but children as well.
Unlike winter colds, the runny nose of spring is usually not a sign of illness.
A kid accepts this as just a normal inconvenience.
Without the presence of a parent a kid will just let it run.
And unconsciously lick it off when it reaches his mouth.
But I’ve seen it done - often.
Done it myself - a long time ago.
A pediatrician told me this mucus recycling actually may be the immune system at work.
We’re talking snot here – or phlegm, if you want the technical term.
(See Wikipedia for more than you ever wanted to know about phlegm.)

The sight of goo running from a nose into a mouth alarms mothers.
And the reflexive parental act of producing a wad of tissue alarms children.
But a parent has an automatic handicap.
Wiping a kid’s nose is necessarily an awkward one-handed act.
Because the other hand is needed to get a grip on the kid.
That’s because the kid usually goes into head-faking gyrations that would make a contortionist proud - they dodge and weave and squirm in retreat.

It’s my opinion that just wiping off most of the surface slime is best.
It’s a big mistake to insist that the kid blow its nose.
A single tissue cannot handle the results.
Snot will explode from the edges of the tissue, smearing the child’s face and the mother’s hands and clothes before the encounter is over.
And if the kid sneezes while blowing . . . well . . .
Sometimes only a garden hose and a bath towel could clean up the mess.

In time, as the kid achieves independence, he will learn to use his sleeve. Before his mother can make her move.
Crusty sleeves are the mark of a shrewd kid.
When the sleeve gets overused, a kid knows that the front of a shirt can be pulled up to deal with the drip.
T-shirts are perfect nose wipers.
Also a handy and willing shaggy dog will solve the problem.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned fathers yet.
Fathers avoid all this - ignore it - if their kid slurps his own snot, so what?
Besides, fathers don’t carry tissue if they can help it.
Tissue is for sissies.

At some age one becomes aware of the social implications of tending to one’s own nose - it’s just not a public act.
But you have a nose and you have to deal with it sometimes.
If you really want to clear all the goo out of your head, seek privacy.
Go where you can’t be seen or heard and blow good.
Forget tissue.
Paper towels are the tool of choice.
Job Squad is my brand.

Why am I telling you this?
My thinking was provoked while waiting with my cart in a supermarket checkout line.
The mother with a child in the kiddy seat in the cart just ahead of me was engaged in hand-to-nose combat with her little boy whose nose was running free and loose.
She came at him with a Kleenex and ordered him to “BLOW!”
He did.
This kid was good - he really had the moves – just before he blew, he dodged, and goo was finely spread.
And she and the kid and the cart needed steam cleaning before it was over.

Those around the mother and child – having stepped safely out of range - were amused.
Knowing smiles.
Been there.

And I thought, I can’t recall anybody talking about this or discussing it in print - so why not me?
There’s nothing illegal or immoral or shameful about it - just nasty.
Snot happens.
Phlegm occurs.
One small condition that unites the human race.
If you have a nose, or ever had a child who has a nose, you know.

link to this story

March 15, 2015

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The middle of March, 2015.
Clear sky, cool nights, warm days.
The old apricot trees along the irrigation ditch have bloomed.
Must be spring . . .
(This was written on March 12 – the thinking was provoked by cookies.)


“Sir, may I offer you a free cookie?”
A sweet voice from behind me in a supermarket parking lot.
I’m fishing around in the back of my car for shopping bags.
I turn around to find a young woman holding out a plate of cookies.
“They’re chocolate,” she says, “with pecans,” she adds, “Free.”

My mother’s admonition suddenly came to mind:
“Never ever accept candy from strangers.”
But she didn’t mention accepting cookies from young women – especially chocolate cookies, with pecans – free.
I wonder if my mother’s rule covers this situation?

Now, to say I am fond of cookies is to greatly understate the case.
“You can have more than one, if you like,” the young woman says.
My mother is not here to advise me.
I take three.
“You can buy a whole bag of these if you like them,” she says.
She pauses, smiles, and adds: “These are Girl Scout cookies and we’re selling them at our booth over there on the sidewalk.”

“Girl Scout Cookies! Oh, well, then, lead me to the booth,” say I.
“I’m a lifelong patron and consumer of Girl Scout Cookies.
Count me in – take me to your cookie supply.”

Turns out the young woman is the advance point person working the parking lot – trolling for old guys like me who look like cookie-buying prospects – luring us in with free samples.
The Girl Scouts, as usual, are on top of their game.

The cookie booth, attended by a troop of Girl Scouts of assorted ages, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, offered an assortment of cookies beyond my most extravagant expectations. [want to see, click on this link]

My first inclination was to explain that cookies were not really good for me, and I would just give the girls a contribution to their fundraising.
That first inclination last about 3 nanoseconds.
And so . . . . you can imagine . . .
I mean these are righteous cookies - supporting a good cause . . .

Sensing my hesitation, the troop went into full court press.
I learned that the Girl Scouts are up-to-date on marketing.
I could buy cookies now for myself, of course.
If I didn’t eat cookies, I could pay for some that they would give away.
If I didn’t want cookies now, I could go to their website and order.
Cookies would be delivered to my house.
If I didn’t want cookies soon, I could go to their website any time of year and order cookies to be mailed to me.
If I was in a hurry for a goodly supply of cookies, I could go to Amazon,
and get cookies by UPS or FedX in two days – free shipping - or have the cookies delivered to anybody else as a gift.

In other words, I could have Girl Scout cookies anytime, anywhere, anyhow – no problem.
So . . . over to me – how many cookies would I like to buy?

How could I possibly turn them down?
And a cookie in hand is worth a lot more than cookies in the future.
So, I’ve got cookies now – never mind how many.
And I have a fine memory of an encounter with some shrewd cookie
salesgirls, who know a soft touch when they see one.
It’s a good thing they weren’t selling kittens or puppies.

But that’s not the main reason I’m telling you this.
The heart of this essay is not really about cookies.
Here’s the rest of the story.

Once upon a time, an American woman named Julliette Gordon Low met a famous Englishman – Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a war hero, and the founder the Boy Scouts. With his sister, Agnes Baden Powell, he responded to the interest young women expressed in scouting by setting in motion the Girl Guides.

Julliette Low was a child of the American South growing up in Savannah, Georgia, the heart of the Confederacy, with all its values and misfortunes. She was a beautiful young woman who was sent to the best finishing schools to prepare her for her place in society.  She married the wealthy heir to an immense fortune based on cotton.

She was, in short, a real southern belle – properly brought up and educated – who married well and went off to live the good life in England in the best and most proper society. But there was more to Julliett Low than that stereotypical image might suggest.

Julliette Low – called “Daisy” by her friends and family – was so impressed by the ideals of Scouting and the Guides that she decided to start a similar organization for girls in the United States.

And she did that.
On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded what has become the Girl Scouts of America. In Savannah, Georgia. She assembled 18 girls for that first meeting.
She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.
Keep in mind, this was in 1912, before women even had the right to vote in the United States. You can imagine the response to a Southern Lady who wanted to take girls camping in the woods without male supervision. A scandal. The woods were full of bears and panthers and wild Indians – it was dirty out there, and no place for nice girls in dresses, much less trousers. Outrageous!

Even worse, from the beginning, the Girl Scouts affirmed diversity as a core value – all girls were welcome, whatever their social class, race, or religion. Disgraceful, shameful, even sinful!

Nevertheless, within a few years, Daisy’s dream for a girl-centered organization was realized. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults, a significant growth from its modest beginnings a century ago. In fact, more than 59 million women in the U.S. today are Girl Scout alumnae.
The message to young women is the same: Be all you can be.
And their commitment to diversity remains.

The Girl Scouts still have mean-spirited critics.
They are accused of being the recruiting arm of Planned Parenthood.
They are accused of being a refuge for lesbians led by dykes.
They are accused of being the training ground for militant feminism.
Though absolutely untrue, the accusations are examples of the ongoing and unrelenting defamation of the place of women in our world.
As with racism, progress has been made, but the task of equality for women in all ways is unfinished – the goal of equal rights and status has not been attained . . . yet.

An admonition:

Don’t buy Girl Scout cookies on-line or from their moms or sisters.
Buy the cookies direct from a Girl Scout in person if you can.
When you do, ask them about being a Scout.
Ask them, as I did, to recite their Promise and their Law.
This is what you will hear:
The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

When you’ve heard this recited, by heart, you’ll feel better about the world for a little while.
And you’ll get some damned fine cookies in the bargain.

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