Last night I was watching a special on TV, “Garth Brooks in Las Vegas”. It made me think about something that happened years ago.
I can’t remember a time when people didn’t know who Garth Brooks was. It seems like he has always been a part of the American landscape. But trust me, there was a time when he was absolutely unknown. Years ago, Troop 26 was involved in a service project called “The Brush Creek Bazaar”. It was a wonderful craft show that benefited the Brush Creek Boy’s Ranch in Jay Oklahoma. Troop 26 ran a concession booth at the weekend event, usually held on the same weekend I think as the opening of the Tulsa State Fair. We sold hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, deserts, cold drinks, lots of stuff. Some of our scouts were always there taking refreshments to the vendors who couldn’t get away from their booths. There were shows going on, cloggers, music, demonstrations, chain saw art, hayrides, cowboys doing roping tricks, all kinds of things. Well, I had just recently designed a T-shirt, all black with a Native American on it. I took the design from a character in a 1990 Kevin Costner movie called “Dances With Wolves”. The character was called “Wind In His Hair”. I thought the shirts were pretty cool and they sold pretty well. I had some of them with me at the Brush Creek Bazaar that year in case anybody wanted to buy one.
One of our Eagle Scouts, Larry Ward Jr., came running up to the concession stand looking for me. He said that he had just heard a great new country western singer who was performing down at the barn. He wanted to give him one of my T-shirts. I asked his name and Larry said “Garth Brooks.” ”Never heard of him”, I said, “but if its important to you, go give him a shirt.” He did. As he left, I asked somebody, probably Ray Yarroll as we used to work the concession together, who Garth Brooks was. I was told that he was singing at the Tulsa State Fair along with Ricky Von Shelton and Clint Black. Clint Black was the headliner. I think I had heard of Clint Black
Several weeks later Larry Ward brought me this photo that he had of himself and Garth Brooks after he gave him the shirt. That photo is one of my prize possessions now.
I don’t think I have one of those T-shirts anymore. The only one I ever see is worn by good friend Ted Dubie, out Committee Chairman. Take a look at it the next time he wears it. And remember, Garth Brooks has one too.
Here is a favorite photo, another one that I’m not in. I’m behind the camera. This is a group photo of some of Troop 26′s OA members at a Section Conclave in Arkansas. They also happen to be some of my very favorite people. Section Conclaves are great because you get to meet OA members from other lodges in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The lines have been adjusted now and the Texas lodges are no longer in our section, but the conclaves are still a great activity to attend.
This photo is from the first Jamboree Troop 26 attended as a troop. 1973. Idaho. Steve Boyer and Roger Agee are standing in front of a patrol flag that Assistant Scoutmaster Bill Dalton helped them make. They are holding the little patch they earned by participating in the jamboree wide game where they had to meet scouts from other troops in other subcamps. It was a great tradition and experience.
The Scoutmaster’s Trophy. A large golden eagle. Presented for the first time to Eagle Scout Keith Forehand in 1983. It was awarded to Eagle Scout Randy McGuire in 1984 The intention was to honor Eagle Scouts who continued to serve the troop, providing invaluable support, leadership and assistance. The best of the best. This photo was taken of the group of five Troop 26 Eagle Scouts who were presented with the Scoutmaster’s Trophy in 2005. All these scouts are now grown men and each have become scouting legends and memories that I think of often. Eagle Scouts Jake Jorishie, Andy Points, Charlie Spears, Daniel Rusco and Trent Wood. We are today what they helped build in days past.
This is a really old photo. Exact date unknown. Back in the middle to late 60s. It was sometime before 1969 because this photo was taken in the basement of the old church at 11th and Sandusky. On the left is Scoutmaster Bud Kunze. The two leaders are, I think, Bob Moses and Earl Cox. I may be wrong about that and, in fact, Bob Moses may have been the Scoutmaster. I’m not sure when Bud took over from Bob. Rick might know. I can remember some of the young men on the floor but not all. The boy on the left with his back to the photographer I think is Jeff Glanz. The boy with his hand up pointing at the Advancement Chart is Mitch Dittus. His little brother, Tommy, now Tom Dittis, was one of my first recruits in 1969, made Eagle Scout and later started the Blue Rose Cafe on South Peoria. Mitch has passed away but when he grew up he was instrumental in getting the Tulsa Street School started on the site of my old elementary school, Franklin on 11th and Yale. Right behind Mitch in the photo is Warren Peters. The scout in the very middle with the different type of neckerchief on, I’m almost sure, is Rick Hayes. Look at all those ribbons on the wall. Look at all that perfect uniforming. Troop 26 had a great history long before I got there.
This was taken in Washington DC in front of the nation’s capitol. What a photo. The sky was so blue and the building and the clouds were so white. A great group of kids and adults. In fact, the best Scouts in America from the best troop in America. I am, of course, slightly prejudiced. I love this photo because the building reminds us of times gone by and the men who climbed these steps who helped build this amazing country. And the kids represent the future and the boys who will grow up and continue to build it. This photo makes me feel patriotic.
When I arrived at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on the first Monday night in 1969 to become the new Scoutmaster for Troop 26, Bill Kirwin was one of the young men present that night. He became an Eagle Scout and was also my Senior Patrol Leader in 1970. This is a photo of Bill in 1972 when he became the Lodge Chief of the Ta Tsu Hwa Lodge of the Order of the Arrow.