Abe made a stretcher the other evening. You know, a carry-an-injured-person-out-of-the-forest or off-of-the-battlefield type of stretcher. He’d learned it in scouts and, while I admit my own involvement in any of his scouting endeavors to be one of feet-dragging and groaning (I am sorry, and ashamed, but it is true), I quite like his own involvement – the part where he gets to feel like a complete and total boy, the part where he gets to insist he can make it with the older boys on their steep nine mile hike, the part where he gets to tie knots and follow a compass and carry flags and pitch tents and . . . make stretchers. The part that doesn’t involve me making sure a requirement is met to finish a merit badge.
And, it is probably a good thing he is a scout. He was discussing how the stretcher (formed of a blanket folded just so over two 2x4s) could be made from branches and even shirts if necessary. I suddenly had a picture of us: my family (well, minus Mike – I could never rightly picture a desperate scenario with Mike involved. I am far too unreasonably confident in his ability to fix all things) – as I was saying, I immediately imagined myself and my kids far off from civilization – one child with a broken leg. I tried to picture how on earth everyone's shirts could possibly be the key to carrying our injured member to safety.
“But how would the shirts be big enough to really wrap around the . . .” I began.
Abe, anticipating my question, jumped in with, “No, you’d put the boards through the shirts”.
Ah-ha! Of course – poking through the shirt sleeves. Silly me. Good thing I’ve got a little scout. I hope he also knows what berries we can eat. And where we’ll find water. And maybe what to do if a swarm of killer bees attack. . . .
But, back to the stretcher-making of last night. As Abe carried the two boards and blanket outside with plans of giving his younger siblings stretcher rides (with Daisy’s help), Mike called out, “Wait! You have to injure them first!” Judging from the laughing and giggling I heard out there as rides were being given, I think Abe was able to perform stretcher-rides just fine even without real wounded and injured. Mike clearly lacks all imagination.