If I could collect an hourly fee for the time I have spent trying to post this, even at minimum wage; if I could package and send to you the time this has cost; if I could attach a value to the frustration and indignity I have suffered from my technological ineptitude—this would be a valuable birthday gift, indeed! (That is, if it actually gets accomplished, sent, and received; I have never yet succeeded in all three, and I've been diligently trying since before Father's Day!... but there is always hope, isn’t there?)
When I considered attempting to chronicle even the most major events in our lives during the past 14 months since my last post, the words of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride came to mind: “Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up…” Even that has become too daunting. Instead, I’m just going to put in something I know that you will especially appreciate – hopefully including some pictures – and pray that the Spirit will convey what my efforts cannot.
On 29 May 2011 we held Joseph’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. (That is another thing the significance of which may never be understood or appreciated by casual observers.) The board of review was an exercise in and trial of nearly every point of the Scout Law, and tested the Spirit of Scouting on both sides of the board. Joseph finished all his requirements for Eagle rank, including the project, well before his 18th birthday, and was told by our troop committee that he had 90 days to complete and submit the write-up and appear before the board, which he did. During the review before the district committee, he was asked if all had been completed by his 18th birthday, to which Joseph replied affirmatively; after listening to other questions, and reflecting on their significance, however, he began to suspect that they were including the paperwork in that 90 days…. Realizing the very real possibility that his long-cherished goal of Eagle could be denied him, he interrupted the interview to clarify. When he made it clear that he had NOT completed the write-up until several weeks after his 18th birthday, under the impression that he had 90 days to do so, the committee chair barked, “That 90-day period belong to us!” All our hearts sank in horror, disappointment, and incredulity. We left the room while the committee deliberated, proud of Joseph for having been totally honest but dejected that it would not compensate for his misinformation. You will appreciate our joy and relief when the committee called us back in and informed us that it would, indeed, compensate; they were impressed that Joseph epitomized the values of Scouting, and his being forthcoming about the 90 days was in his favor. Toward the end of our visit, the committee chairman approached Joseph and took his dog-eared Scout Handbook from him with two fingers, as if picking up something he’d peeled off the bottom of his shoe, and asked, “Whose Scout book is this?” as though he suspected it had been around since Baden-Powell himself. It certainly looked as though it had been on a century’s worth of Scout outings. He opened the front cover and read: “Michael [crossed out] David [crossed out] Caleb [crossed out] Seth [crossed out] Joseph Weiler” and looked at our fifth son accusingly. Without missing a beat, he responded, “Sir, a Scout is thrifty…”
I was personally so relieved and grateful for the end of that drama that I magnanimously and recklessly told Joseph he could have anything he wanted for his court of honor… Never say this to a kid who is hollow, always hungry, and burns 12,000 calories a day...
I ended up spending nearly as many man-hours as his project had taken, decorating dozens of mini-cupcakes to look like merit badges. (The worst part was that few people recognized them for what they were, even after having it pointed out! Oh, well—Joseph appreciated them, and that’s why I did it.)
Joseph was honored by many; here are some of his favorites: niece Anne, bro-in-love Erik:
Multiple adoring young women: the Maggert girls, with whom Joseph and his brothers did some curbing jobs (their dad bought Curbs By The Yard from us):