It was during the summer camp of 1983, that Matt our Troop Bugler, challenged the patience of just about every scout and scout leader in good old Boy Scout Troop 170, with his early morning Reveille.
The Bugler of Troop 170
By Richard Mabey Jr.
It’s important to state right off the bat, that Matt was a most likeable Tenderfoot Scout. He was filled with scout spirit. He loved hiking and camping. He was a real team player. And, Matt was a very good bugler. So, about a month before we all left for summer camp, my dad appointed Matt to be our Troop Bugler. We hadn’t had an official Troop Bugler for quite a while. So, it seemed like we were going to take one more step up the rung of the ladder to being the single best Boy Scout Troop in all of America! For now we had our very own Troop Bugler!
But, as likeable as Matt was, he had a real problem understanding this concept: wait till the sun rises to play Reveille. Amazingly, Matt’s bugle was never tossed down the latrine. Not that the scouts of good old Troop 170 would ever do anything that. However, I think it may have crossed the minds of one or two scouts.
My dad (right hand side), who was Scoutmaster of good old 170, convinced Assistant Scoutmaster Jack Floyd to allow Matt to play his bugle at the big Fall District Camporee.
My dad was impressed with Matt’s ability to play the bugle. So much so, that after summer camp, Dad suggested to Assistant Scoutmaster Jack Floyd to have Matt play Taps at the big Fall Camporee. Jack was also the Camping Commissioner for the entire Boonton District. Jack had heard Matt play the bugle many times, so he saw no problem in having Matt play Taps each night at the big Fall Camporee.
Well, when Jack Floyd asked Matt if he wanted to play his bugle for all the scouts and scout leaders at the big Fall Camporee, Matt’s eyes lit up! The young scout was so honored!
And so, the good news is that Matt did play Taps for the closing of the big camporee at the District Fall Camporee for 1983. But, the bad news is that Matt also played Reveille for the Fall Camporee. Well, there is a silver lining to that one, at least Matt did wait till the sun began to rise before he took his bugle out of its case.
I know it meant a lot to Matt to play his bugle before hundreds of scouts and scout leaders at the big Fall Camporee. He did a great job. Matt moved away, shortly after that camporee. After that, Troop 170 did not have a Troop Bugler for a few years.
In some ways, even though everyone could sleep in at campouts, it seemed funny without hearing Matt play Reveille. At campouts, there was a kind of sadness to mornings and evenings. Matt was truly missed by the scouts and scout leaders of good old Troop 170.
It’s funny, sometimes the person who you think is such an annoyance; is the very person that you miss when they’re gone. Sometimes, it’s not such a bad idea to go the extra mile to find the good in someone. Even the person who seems to be such an annoyance to you. Life is short. Love one another.