The old rugged patch, this is the very Assistant Scoutmaster patch that I wore on my scout uniform for many years.
The Old Ragged Patch
By Richard Mabey Jr.
When a person reflects upon his or her life, there is the burning question that keeps popping up. That question is: did I do my very best? A simple question on one hand. But on another hand, a very painful question to answer in earnest honesty.
One of my dearest possessions, is my old Assistant Scoutmaster patch. It is the very one that I wore on my scout uniform for many, many years. It is now weathered, frayed and in less than perfect condition. It’s been through the mill and back.
Scouting was an important bond that I had with my dad. Serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster for good old Boy Scout Troop 170 was a very real outreach for me. Dad’s old saying that it’s better to teach a boy morals than to try to rehabilitate a wayward man, has a lot of truth to it.
I am in the process of doing the twelfth or thirteenth rewrite for my book, I have lost count of my rewrites. Through it all, I keep asking myself, “did I do my honest best?” The answer is painful. Because I feel that at times I did, at times I didn’t. It’s just that plain and simple.
This particular rewrite of my book has been very painful. I miss my Dad so very much. Plus, I most recently brought to an auction house, near my home, about 90 percent of my entire comic book collection. It came to well over two thousand comic books. It was a tough thing to do. But, I intend to use some of the money to self publish my book. It’s nearly impossible for an unknown author to get a book published these days.
One of the most painful things that I have ever done in my life is to climb the highest point of Hook Mountain in Old Beavertown.
In the late summer of 1966, I was 12 years old and I had just gotten over a full-year bout with rheumatic fever. In my old hometown of Old Beavertown, the famous Hook Mountain goes through the town. It is a proud, majestic, towering mountain chain. It may have been foolish on my part, but I was determined to climb the highest point of Hook Mountain.
My good friend, Stu S. and I often had climbed various points of Hook Mountain. We were pretty good mountain climbers, especially for our young ages. Well, this one particular portion of Hook Mountain is a full-blown straight-up climb. There’s no gradual incline to it. It’s just plain and simple, a very dangerous climb.
Well, with the encouragement of my old pal, Stu S., I made it to the high top of Hook Mountain that late summer afternoon. But, I kid you not, it was not easy.
And, that is where I am in my life right now. I know that when my book does get published that the harsh critics will be coming out of the woodwork. And, I am not sure if the money that I get from the auction sales of my comic book collection will cover the cost of publishing my book. So, then I’ll face another dilemma.
I have an oak tag card on my desk at home and at work. It simply reads, “failure is not an option.” I’ve got that message engraved in the fiber and being of my subconscious mind. And, often I think back when I was 12 years old and endured the pain of climbing the high, jagged, straight-up portion of old Hook Mountain. It took all the focus and grueling strength that I had within me, but when it was all said and done, I succeeded.
No matter what mountain you are presently climbing. No matter how dismal or impossible it seems to reach a life goal. No matter how impossible it may seem to see your dream come true. Please remember this: give it all you got. Ignore the critics and naysayers. Fight on with all your inner strength. And always remember, failure is not an option!