Monday, September 27, 2010

In Memoriam

I received some sad news this weekend. An old friend of the family and the original Scoutmaster from my Boy Scout Troop, Newton Porter, passed away earlier this month.

Mr. Porter was the coolest Scoutmaster! Not only did he have some great stories to tell us about his work on the Miami Bomb Squad, but he had some of the most creative ways to start camp fires! My favorite was the one we all called "The Letter."

This Fire Lighting ceremony started with Mr. Porter standing in front of the unlit fire scowling at us. He fumed a bit and then took an envelope out of his pocket. Gesticulating wildly with the envelope, he spent the next couple minutes telling us how the envelope contained a letter from the parent of a scout who claimed that nothing exciting ever happened at the scout camping trips.

This, Mr. Porter claimed, was utter nonsense. The rant ended with him throwing the envelope into the fire and storming off. Without anyone touching the fire or anything further going on, the fire would then burst into flame. I have been told how this was done and the explanation sounds plausible, but I have never been able to replicate it.

Our Scoutmaster also often gave talks to other troops about how to be safe with explosives. Our troop once got the opportunity to go to the bomb squad offices on a field trip. Arrayed on the shelves along with the mock-ups of some bombs the squad had found were hands and fingers that had been amputated explosively in jars of formaldehyde. Like I said, Mr. Porter was the coolest.

It has been at least twenty years since I have seen any of the Porter family, but They are in my thoughts as I remember Newt and wish them all well.

Wherever you are this week, I hope that you are well.

Don Bergquist - September 27, 2010 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA


Kevin said...

Sorry to hear that, man. Scout Masters are pretty cool. My old scout master became a State Representative in the 80s.


Don Bergquist said...

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for reading and commenting on my Blog.

Yeah, Scoutmasters are cool! Even though I had lost contact with Mr. Porter years ago when I moved out of Florida, he still had a big impact on my life.

Thanks for commenting!