We have a very active Boy Scout Troop here in town, and I'm pleased to have my son involved with it. One of the boys is working on a very excellent Eagle Scout project and before the winter swoops in with her cold and bitter winds, a lot of work needed to be done. J asked at the last meeting for volunteers and I told him I'd come.
Boy, that was a lot of work. And I'm glad I went.
J started the project Labor Day weekend, and is enhancing an already existing pathway down to the pond, putting in gravel and picnic tables and little BBQ grills, one on either side of the path. One is handicapped accessible in design, and the path is good for fishermen and people who want to put in canoes. The entire area was overgrown, and no one was really using the path to put in canoes because they were going down around the bend to put in.
This is adjacent to where J lives, and he uses the area a lot, and felt that getting it cleaned up and set up would tie in with the Mass Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and our town, and it would benefit people who just want to come and have a nice picnic... not just to fish or canoe. There's no swimming in the pond, and no motorized boating, because it is back up water supply for the city of Haverhill... so there isn't a need for a boat launch or what have you.
His plans were all accepted by the town and only one person in town pushed back... a guy who lives down the road who feels this is "his" pond and calls the police when someone is fishing because he feels that the pond shouldn't be fished. The police officer who stopped by today told us they logged 3,000 complaints FROM this one man in the last year. About people fishing. Or driving on his street, or turning around in his driveway.
He is against the plan, and I kind of anticipated that he'd be the kind of jerk who would come undo stuff, or push stuff over or do some damage, but so far all he's done is complain and not act on his complaints. He inists that the plan will bring pollution into the pond. The town says that people already use the pond and that they will take care of emptying out the trash barrels. J's plan states the the Boy Scout troop will police the location and keep it clean as part of the project going forward into the years, so he has no complaint about whether or not it will be cleaned up on a regular basis...
Regardless... the project is underway, and he can grump all he wants about HIS pond being used. It's already used. May as well make the space look nice and have less poison ivy.
I went over at 10:30 am (after waking up at 10:25 am) and had my shovel and rake in hand. The boy's mom met me with a cup of coffee, and we set to digging. I was the only volunteer there. I guess that starting back in August other people came and helped do a lot of clearing and work, but this particular weekend it was J, his mom and dad, and his two younger brothers... both of whom spent a lot more time taking swipes at one another than actually working. One actually left to go fishing with a friend. And that worked out well because the youngest brother left behind turned out to be my partner in crime and he and I did a lot of work together.
We moved tons and tons of dirt, tons of gravel, filled in the pathway almost to the road with the gravel, filled in at least one of the two picnic squares with gravel. I called Doug at about 1:30 and asked if he wanted to come help because there was no way I could keep going at the rate I had been from 10:30... and the rain was coming so we had to get as much done as possible. I think that aside from the one post hole not being dug deep enough because the auger got fried, that they got to just shy of everything being done. The picnic tables and BBQ grills will arrive sometime next week, and will go into the ground either as soon as they come in, if weather allows, or they will go in sometime in early March. J turns 18 in March and the project has to be complete before his 18th birthday.
Cross your fingers that it can happen.
They got us lunch and we sat around chatting for about 20 minutes about how they love to fish the pond and work their farm. They are a wonderful family and I love their kids. J makes me laugh a lot... he's such a kind and wonderful guy with the best smile. It was an honor taking the time to help him out. I left at 4:15, doug stayed until about 5
The way I see it, it's essential for me to help. Someday my son may want to do a complex Eagle Project. I hope that the families in our troop will help us out the same.
J's younger brother has his Eagle project coming up this April. It's a one day thing, so in comparison it's not that big a deal. His youngest brother told me that he hopes that his Eagle project is a "one hour project!" because J's is so big, then his brother C's is one day, so logically it follows that his will be the shortest. We had a good laugh at that...
So yeah. Working for someone else's project as hard as I think I worked today was rough on my fat, old body. But the end result and benefit is something I'm proud to participate in. And hopefully, our willness to help will shine goodness down on Geoff when it's time for him to do one.
It takes a village to make an Eagle.