The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: Cub Scouts

Sometimes a picture really is worth 1000 words…

Bucket Head and I had our first Tiger Cub Den Meeting last week. We decided to pose for a few quick photos on our way out the door.

Personally, I find anyone in uniform hard to resist.

Apparently, Bucket Head does not.

annoying mother and den leader

A Full Circle Cornhole Moment

My 6-year-old son Bucket Head wants to be a Tiger Cub.

It’s all he’s been talking about for two weeks: “MOM! THEY GET TO SHOOT BOWS AND ARROWS! AND GO CAMPING! AND RACE PINEWOOD DERBY CARS!!!”

Is it just me, or does this statue look like a giant turd?

Is it just me, or does this bronze statue look like a giant turd?

Bucket Head was made to be a Cub Scout. The kid can’t walk without finding and picking up sharp sticks wherever he goes.

So we went to the Cub Scout Roundup last night; sat and listened and whooped and hollered at all the appropriate cues; and then when the Cubmaster asked for volunteer Den Leaders, it was so quiet you could hear a flea fart.

Honest to Pete, the only sound in the joint was the cafeteria clock going tick-tick-tick as all the parents put their heads down and avoided eye contact with each other.

Cubmasters must be used to this response because they played it pretty cool.

…for the first five minutes.

And then the begging began in earnest.

One of the other leaders approached my husband who has worked with my oldest son’s Boy Scout Troop for years and said, “Jim? How about you? Ready to be a Den Leader?”

“Sorry, Bob. Can’t do it this year.”

“Oh, come on. It’s only an hour a week and the first four meetings are totally planned out for you.”

“No can do, man. I’m already spread way too thin.”


“Anyone? Folks, we can’t have a Tiger Den without two Den Leaders,” the Cubmaster pleaded.


“Do it for the kids! We’ll help you. There is training!”

You could see the panic sprawled across all those sweet little 6-year-old faces.

“What’s happening, Mom?” one of the boys whispered.

Nobody was stepping up.

A bead of sweat slowly trickled down the face of the dad across the table from me as he busied himself on his iPhone.

Uh-oh. This is bad, I thought to myself.


And just when it looked like poor little Bucket Head wasn’t going to get to be a Cub Scout after all, a small voice piped up from the back:

“I’ll do it.”

A universal, audible sigh of relief reached everyone’s ears at once. 

Wait, who said that?

Who is that crazy woman in the back raising her hand?

Hey! I know her! Hi!

Oh no.

Hold on, folks.

She might not be the best choice.

Isn’t she a… a… a humorist?

I mean, she overshares on the Internet. And she has a book on Amazon about lady bits and stuff!

Oh well. Too late now.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your newest Cub Scout Den Leader!

(It’s me. Say hello to me. Thanks. I get tired of talking to myself, y’know?) 

Yeah. I’m just as shocked as you are.

(But I’m pretty excited about the uniform!)

So we’ll have to see how it goes. I’m bracing myself for the very real possibility that I will be deemed “unacceptable” as a Cub Scout Den Leader based on my, well… me-ness. But like I tell my kids all the time, beggars can’t be choosers. You don’t want someone like me* heading up your Tiger Cub Den? Then step up.

But in the meantime, I already know one of the crafts we’ll be doing! The boys are going to LOVE IT!

To help you fully appreciate what an enormous full circle moment this is for me and my family, I’ve spruced up one of my very first blog posts for you about the time I played Cornhole and perfected the art of the Dutch Oven at Cub Scout Family Camp five years ago. It’s probably new to you, and it is one of my all time favorites. Enjoy!

© 2013 The Bearded Iris


(Please note: the following blog post was originally published in 2008, when I was clearly still on the sauce. Proceed with caution.) 

I love that my 9-year-old son is a Cub Scout… I do. He has a blast and it is always very wholesome, good clean fun, which I suspect is good for growing children. Soap carving, anyone?

But I have two problems with the whole Cub Scout camp-out thing.

1.) They have a very strict rule that no alcoholic beverages are allowed at camp.

2.) The other moms and dads are very nice. I mean VERY nice. Like the nicest people I have ever met.

In other words—I do not fit in there at all.

And being in the balmy, great outdoors around very nice, responsible parents and 30 loud little boys running amok with sharp sticks and pocket knives really makes me want to soothe myself with a cocktail or two.

But I muscled through the pain and managed to really enjoy myself, and there were a few high points that I’d like to share with you.

First, let’s talk about Cornhole.

Cornhole is a bean-bag tossing game that originated in Ohio. The board looks like this:

Seriously. I’m not making this up.

Apparently, people who play this game are very passionate about it. The dimensions of the board are strictly regulated, as are the bean-bags, the distance between the player and the board, the scoring, etc. However, I had never heard of this “game” until Cub Scout Family Camp when one of the dads asked me “if I wanted to play Cornhole” with him and I almost crapped my pants.

“Excuse me?” I stuttered.

At which point he tossed me a bag of dried corn, pointed to the game board on the ground, and taught me how to play. And you know what? It was really, really fun! But I was DYING, y’all. Because I couldn’t control myself and made a snide crack about how I had never heard the term “Cornhole” outside of the prison movies I so enjoy watching and HE TOTALLY DIDN’T GET IT. He cocked his head to the side and made a “Huh?” face and I quickly realized that I should probably not attempt to joke around with Cub Scout Dads about anything remotely related to S-E-X, prison style or otherwise. These dads are very nice. And very straight. And to some of them, Cornhole is no laughing matter.

But thank God for my husband. As soon as I finished my Cornholing session with Mr. Ohio, I ran as fast as my stumps could carry me to tell my man about the game and we giggled until our faces hurt. We don’t do that very often—my husband is actually one of those Nice Cub Scout Dads—but luckily for me, I must have rubbed off on him a bit (wink wink) because he does appreciate a good dirty joke from time to time. Not often enough, I say, but we’re working on it. I’ll keep rubbing.

So one more really funny thing to share, if you don’t mind.

The Scoutmaster organized an “Iron Chef” competition between the campers. The kids were divided up into three teams, given access to a pantry of processed foods, and taught various outdoor camp cooking methods, one of which is the Dutch Oven. Honestly, I should force my son to stay in Scouts just for the material.

After the cooking demonstration, the three teams were each assigned a secret ingredient to incorporate into their dishes. My team’s secret ingredient was popcorn. Now, I was just lurking on the edge of the group, having to follow my 19-month-old son, Bucket Head, around and make sure he didn’t wander off and get eaten by a bear, so I wasn’t really helping the kids choose the menu. But watching these other nice nice moms and dads strategize was fascinating.

The main rule of this contest was that the kids had to do all the cooking—the parents could only supervise and control the cooking fuel. But when I learned that my group was stumped about how to use the popcorn in their dish, I just had to butt-in. They had just settled on a simple trail mix of popcorn and nuts when I sidled up to one of the more assertive moms and asked her if we had access to marshmallows and butter. I then planted the seed in her head that if we made popcorn balls out of the popcorn, it would be a real crowd pleaser and something that the kids would have fun making. Wouldn’t you know it? That nice mom hopped on my idea faster than an Ohioan on a stiff ear of corn.

Now, I’m not used to being listened to by anyone other than my team of well-compensated, highly skilled psychiatrists, so suddenly being thrust into the mix of an Iron Chef competition with a team of eager scouts and parents reporting to me was quite the power trip. Suddenly, Bucket Head was fending for himself and I was melting butter and marshmallows in a Dutch Oven, fixin’ to lead my team to victory. You know that phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Well, imagine the extra chaos of an outdoor camp style kitchen with propane fueled burners and a very enthusiastic team of very competitive nice nice parents and their 6-year-old sons. It was mayhem. But the popcorn balls were my idea and I was not going to let my team down, dammit!

Well we oiled up the hands of these seven little kids, and I gotta tell you, I don’t think their hands were all that clean. But rules are rules and we had an Iron Chef style ticking clock to beat, so we greased ’em up and let them dig into the pot and grab handfulls of gooey popcorn and mold them into balls. It was messy. It was sticky. It was germy. But it was really cool.

Thank GOD it worked.  Just look at my glistening balls. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Fast forward to the judging. My husband, who has a talent for garnishing, helped the boys plate up the other dishes and deliver them to the judges with those germy popcorn balls decorating each plate like something you’d see in a real restaurant—and I’m talkin’ about a classy joint like Cracker Barrel.

You should have heard the “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” from the judges and other campers. The popcorn balls were a HUGE hit. In fact, the lead judge exclaimed that he hadn’t eaten an old-fashioned popcorn ball since he was a child and the nostalgia of it really touched his heart. Yep, those germy sweet and salty balls o’ mine won our team first place! The nice nice scout leaders even recognized me by name in the award ceremony; it may be one of my proudest moments. (Note to self: never underestimate the power of balls, and also, I really need to get out more.)

© 2008 The Bearded Iris

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