A rite of passage in scouting and being an Eagle scout is the two week experience of Philmont in Cimarron, New Mexico. It is supposed to be a grueling and yes intimidating hiking trip through the various landscapes of New Mexico. You have heard of Phillips 66 haven’t you and the song “Route 66” well the principal of Phillips Petroleum donated thousands of acres to the Boy Scouts years ago and the trek that is “Philmont” is the Mecca of scouting.
Sam, my third child was a reluctant scout and subsequently, an Eagle Scout. He traversed Philmont effortlessly.
In the picture Sam is on a rock that looks like a chair at the top of Mount Phillips, the signature structure of Philmont and a spot that we awoke early in the morning to hike to and be there before sunrise.
You might notice that he is playing a guitar. A guitar, to be specific a Martin’s backpacker’s guitar, that we carried for two weeks over fifty miles in order to enjoy around the campfire and culminating in this picture atop the mountain at sunrise. In the distance you see the most beautiful landscape of New Mexico and the mesas that are common to the area. This mountain has a rock face and when seen by 1800’s travelers served as a sign that Santa Fe was only a weeks journey away.
I remember this picture, which I took, vividly. I remember Sam’s spirit throughout the hike, his love of music, his love of making music, his making the hardships of this experience look easy and of course…his penchant of a photo op….that continued from his years of drama at Gainesville High School, Scad in Savannah and currently in Brooklyn, New York pursuing his music endeavors.
Happy Birthday Sammy…I hope that whatever vision you saw or imagined or wished for atop that mountain in New Mexico at day break, now so many years ago, you can draw from and come to fruition for you now.
We love you……. Mumsey and Popsey.
Ps…when Sam received his Eagle scout at our local church there was a portion of the ceremony where the newly inducted Eagle scout places an Eagle pendant on the father’s lapel. All of the Eagles approached their fathers and placed the pin. It was emotional. Sam and his mother and I had been through so much, just as all of the other families.
The new Eagle scouts return to their seats in the pews as do the fathers. As I sit down I look down to relish the Eagle pin on my lapel that we had all worked so hard to achieve. To my chagrin my pin, however was not a father’s Eagle pin, it was the band Phish’s emblem. I turn and look at my son Sam, which he anticipated I would do, and he smiled. I smiled.
It was perfect.