This is a photo of scout John Walker. On the Saturday morning, before the Sunday that Boy Scout Troop 170 was going to leave for summer camp, Johnny showed up at the old Mabey Homestead to wash the troop trailer.
The Spirit of Boy Scout Troop 170
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Boy Scout Troop 170 had an active hiking and camping roster, year round. Every year, the scouts would go to summer camp. Most of the time we went to Boy Scout Camp Allamuchy, in none other than, Allamuchy, New Jersey. Camp Allamuchy was a great place to go for summer camp. There was a beautiful lake there, high mountains, miles and miles of wooded trails, and there was even an active Native American archeological dig site. Scout camp lasted for one full week, starting on a Sunday morning and lasting till the following Saturday afternoon. Scout camp was a blast!
Dad and I had a long-standing family tradition. On the Saturday before we left for summer camp, we would do a complete overhaul of the entire yard and back field of the old Mabey Homestead. We would mow the lawn, trim the hedges, weed the flower gardens, tend to the vegetable garden, and rake up all the cut grass trimmings. This meant getting up early in the morning, having a quick breakfast and starting the yard work by about seven-thirty. The old Mabey Estate was nearly three acres in size.
I will never forget this. It was the summer of 1983. I was mowing the front lawn and Dad was mowing the back field. And, lo and behold, John Walker came riding his bike down Mabey Lane and into our back driveway. At the time, Johnny was the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 170.
I can still hear the echo of Johnny calling out to my dad, “Mr. Mabey, I come to wash the scout trailer!”
Well, I think my dad was very pleasantly surprised. Dad and I helped Johnny with setting up the hose, getting him a big bucket, a sponge and some car wash soap. But, Johnny insisted upon washing the trailer by himself. While he was washing the troop trailer, I had the presence of mind to take Johnny’s picture.
I remember that it was just about high noon when Johnny finished washing, drying and waxing the old scout trailer. Johnny had that dear old scout trailer shining like a diamond. Dad made a big fuss about how great the scout trailer looked. I remember how Johnny smiled and simply said, “thanks Mr. Mabey!”
Dad invited Johnny to have lunch with us. We ate our sandwiches at the picnic table, beneath the old maple tree that shaded the scout trailer. It was a grand and glorious moment. For Johnny Walker had defined the spirit of unselfish service that made Boy Scout Troop 170 such a great scout troop!
After lunch, Johnny told us that he had to get home to pack and go with his mom to the grocery store to buy some treats for the week-long campout. We said our goodbyes. Johnny waved goodbye as he rode his bicycle up Mabey Lane and then onto Route 202.
After Johnny left, Dad and I cleaned up from our lunch and brought all the food and lemonade back inside. We went back to mowing lawn, trimming hedges and raking grass clippings. Johnny Walker had made that Saturday morning special with his unselfish act of kindness.
There was a special spirit of brotherhood and good will that flowed through the scouts and scout leaders of Boy Scout Troop 170. It was a very special scout troop. In many ways, it was like a family to me.