Be Prepared (to buy an iPod instead)

9 02 2011

I wish there had been a Fluorine in my neighborhood. Anything to break the monotony of door-to-door disaster and disappointment.

Who’s Fluorine, you ask? And what is this disaster and disappointment of which you speak?

To answer those questions, you’ll need to hop over here and read Jennifer Lee’s post on The High Calling today. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

(Jeopardy music)

Welcome back. So, they plan to sell 1,000 boxes each. Heart-warming, isn’t it? Wholesome youth dreaming big dreams and setting their sights on the stars. (Or rather on an Apple iPod Touch, which is almost the same thing.) Here’s a photo of the dynamic duo Jennifer posted on her personal blog:

Such adorable little over-achieving cookie pushers! They’re actually wearing their mom’s old Girl Scout uniforms in this shot, a marketing strategy they used to open the hearts and wallets of sentimental fellow church members in their rural Iowa town last Sunday. It’s all so quaint and nostalgic and would be utterly charming, except . . . well, sometimes I love the memories prompted by other people’s stories, but this time . . .

I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s what I wrote in my comment on Jennifer’s post:

I was not a very good Girl Scout. No. Let me rephrase that. I was a horrible Girl Scout. Most of the things we did landed way outside my comfort zone. The few badges I earned were in categories like “art” (big surprise there) and they were safety-pinned, not sewed on. On camping trips my bedroll always fell apart during the hike, blankets dragging in the dirt. Why couldn’t I just bring my sleeping bag? No, it had to be a hand-tied bedroll, all McGuyver-like. Once we finally made it to the camp site, I’d dump that mess in a heap and attempt to pitch my tent. The other girls smiled and chatted as their tents seemed to pitch themselves into symmetrical perfection, but mine ended up a crookedy mess.

But my least favorite part of all was cookie sales. I always procrastinated, and by the time I lugged my red wagon load of colorful boxes through the neighborhood, every response was the same. “We already bought from someone else.” Ugghh.

I suppose it was to my mom’s credit that she made me trudge door to door anyway, because I’m sure she knew she’d ultimately have to buy the one case I was required to sell.

So, yeah. Thanks for dredging up my past failures, Jennifer. To quote Miracle Max, why don’t you just give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice in it?

Kidding, of course. (About the paper cut, anyway. The rest is all too true.) Your girls are adorable. LOVE the photo of them in your old uniforms. Not sure if those are victory signs, peace signs, bunny ears, or a combo, but their smiles and enthusiasm are infectious. I wish them all the best in their efforts, and more than anything, I’m just glad it’s not me.

* * *

After reading the comment, Jennifer and Ann Kroeker both encouraged me to share this story with you, so there you go. And speaking of encouragement, if you aren’t a member of The High Calling community yet, you should check it out. Lovely people. Excellent articles. More than enough encouragement to go around, and a safe place to dredge up all sorts of memories. Kind of like Girl Scout cookies. There’s something for everyone. And you don’t even have to knock on doors. Hope to see you there!


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13 responses

9 02 2011
annkroeker

Oh, Jeanne! I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting your Girl Scout disasters–they dredged up some of my own. I recall my one camp out, complete with a bedroll and mess kit. I hated the whole experience, but I did get to share a tent that someone else helped raise properly.

I really like my canteen, though. I think my mom picked it up at a garage sale.

Overall, Girl Scouts just wasn’t a good fit.

Oh, and I never sold more than a box or two of cookies. So no iPod for me.

9 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Too bad we weren’t in the same troop. We could have ditched together and done something fun, like a sleepover in a real house on real beds with real food. Actually, though, I do like food cooked over an open fire, as long as I don’t have to chop wood or build the fire or do any actual cooking. Also, it can’t be too hot or cold outside. Or raining. Why is the theme song of Camelot playing in my head?

9 02 2011
L.L. Barkat

Yeah. I was terrible at selling stuff as a kid. Good thing I was never a girl scout! (I would have bought your box of cookies though 🙂

9 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Woohoo! That’s one. Do you suppose there are any prizes in that category?

9 02 2011
Jennifer@GDWJ

Oh, Jeanne. You are good. So, so good. Your comment today in the comment box made me smile. It was so fun to see it all together over here. (Lydia and Anna will be THRILLED, I tell you!)

You’re such a vibrant voice in the High Calling community, and I want to tell you how much I appreciate you — both here, and over there at the High Calling site, and really out-and-about in the network. Thank you, friend, for your encouragement!

9 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Jennifer! I always enjoy your writing — what you have to say and how you say it. Glad my contribution made you smile. If it also thrills the little cookie queens, I’ll feel like balance has returned to the Girl Scout universe (as far as my part in it is concerned).

I’m still getting familiar with all things High Calling. So much to explore. Your kind words and warm welcome mean a lot. Thanks again.

9 02 2011
Sheila

Jeanne and Ann,
If we’d been in the same Girl Scout troop I suspect we might have somehow burned down the forest.

Thanks for the memories 🙂

9 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Always good to look on the bright side of what might have but didn’t happen. (Or something like that.)

Thanks, Sheila. 🙂

10 02 2011
Kelly Sauer

The closest I ever got to Girl Scouts was AWANA – and since that involved Scripture memorization and my photographic memory (that left with the entrance of my brain fog), I was pretty good at it. But then we went on a campout. And I nearly fell off the mountain on a hike. I think I would have been a very, VERY bad Girl Scout.

Love your story. Love your sense of humor. Wish I could buy a box of cookies off you now, just to have met you then. 😉

10 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Too bad there wasn’t a remedial Girl Scouts program where people like you and me could skip Bedroll 101 and go straight to falling off mountains and laughing about it. We’d even be willing to let the advanced class practice their cookie spiels on us, as long as we got to sample the goods. Fun times.

Thanks for all the love, Kelly! The feelings are mutual. 🙂

10 02 2011
laura

We did not do organized activities when I was a kid. I was always envious of those girls and boys who came to school in their uniforms for whatever occasion. I have, however, done a fair share of camping. What in the world is a bedroll? Don’t those girl scouts know that the only way to ensure a good night’s sleep in a tent is to invest in the plushest, downiest sleeping bag out there? And…oh, yeah. Do not share your tent with a claustrophobic.

10 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Ah, Laura. A bedroll is an instrument of torture and was about as necessary then as a rotary dial telephone is today. First you lay out your sheets and blankets, then fold them several times to make a long, thin strip. Then roll tightly. Then (the most ridiculous, McGuyver-like part) take one long piece of rope and do some kind of fancy wrapping and knotting dance to secure the whole bundle in a neatly-tied camp-sleep-a-majig. The rope bit was always my undoing. Literally.

As for me and my house, the only way to ensure a good night’s sleep in a tent is your plush and downy bag PLUS an inflatable mattress and a portable heater/fan (depending on the weather).

And now you’ve totally piqued my curiosity with that final warning. Story???

13 02 2011
floyd

I can’t much relate to Girl Scouts, I can relate to Boy Scouts, well until I got kicked out. There’s a lot of rules in that organization. Can you believe I got kicked out for throwing a coffee pot at a kid who beat me on a nature hike? (that turned into a foot race) God starts a few of us well behind the others in this “race” of life. I’m still determined to run that race set before me in a way that honors our Father. Pleased to meet you, I see my mold fits you!

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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