Oly Will Never be a Boy Scout

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I’m ashamed that I was a member of the Boy Scouts of America. The recent vote to allow gays is all I needed to decide if my son Oly will ever be a member of the boy scouts. Don’t get me wrong, it is not the fact that they allowed gays to join, it is the fact that they had to vote on that. What a pitiful group of men.

I loved being a scout; in many ways, it was a driving factor in my becoming a park ranger in Yellowstone. But, when I was a scout, we didn’t worry about the other kids sexual orientation. How many 11 year olds do you know that are openly gay? Even if a young boy feels different at that age, do you think he is openly talking about his thoughts at 11 years old? I don’t think so. Are scout leaders saying they can’t help our kids learn about life if they are gay?

What really irks me is most of those people would say that being gay is against their religious beliefs. Well dude, I don’t want to know your god. The god I learned about was all accepting.  

I was a member of Boy Scout Troop 40, which meets at Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. It has been thirty-five years and I still consider a few of the people I met there among my closest friends. We even had a gay assistant leader; some of us knew it and we still were safe and we excelled in scouting.

Of the 1400 people that were called on to vote, over 40% voted to not allow gay kids; really? That is nearly 500 men that voted to ban gays. I wonder how many of those 500 men are secretly gay? More than a couple dozen would be my guess; the others just play the fool so well. Can you say reach-around?

So, what have we learned about the Boy Scouts of America? We have learned that the leaders are bigots and fools. We have also learned that they love closets.

I helped Troop 4 from St Agnes in Louisville plan a trip to Yellowstone that they will take this summer; I will never help a scout troop again.

Some of the smartest, most beautiful and honest people I have met in my life are gay and who cares? Maybe I should go back to the scouts and earn my Bigot Merit Badge, because I just don’t get it.

 

 

 

  

 

 

More Than A Bench

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If you are ever in Olympia, stop by the farmers market and spend some time on Ron’s bench. It is something that Megan and I and now Oly do often; we took Oly there when he was just three months old. The Olympia’s farmers market is a special place in a special town. Like most urban areas, time is catching-up to Washington’s capital city. There are more homeless people than there used to be and the fads are different than they were when any of us were young. But, at the farmers market, if you get a chance, relax on Ron’s bench and watch for Ron’s spirit. It is there among the apples and crafts. Maybe it is floating on the music. You will notice the flavor of the people; Ron was one of them.

Ron worked in the same hospital in Olympia for 30 years. He was a mental health specialist and you would find it hard to locate a local family that Ron did not impact in some positive way. Ronald Joseph O’Connor passed away two days after he retired; two days. That still pisses me off.

I had many special moments with Ron. One of the most memorable was when Meg, Ron and I were paddling in Mud Bay near Olympia. As we paddled among some old log pilings, a baby seal surfaced and swam along with us; it would swim and then roll onto its back and then repeat the entire motion. As quickly as it appeared, it was gone, but I have never forgotten that sight or the pleased look on Ron’s face.

Ron was Oly, Isabella, Ben and Mia’s granddad, he was Megan and Sarah’s father and he was my friend. Ron was a spiritual man. He studied to become a priest when he was young. He was Zen Buddhist as an adult and he was a Christian when he died. He liked religion and he did not care where your spirituality came from; he had respect for all people’s beliefs. The world would be better if we all had the values of Ron O’Connor. The world would be better if we still had Ron O’Connor.

I hope Ron found his heaven and if he did, I bet there is a nice basketball court and I hope Izzy is his cheerleader.

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“GOOD FOR YOU”