Thursday, August 13, 2009

Irons in the Fire

High in the back country of Philmont, Scouts can brand their shoes, their Nalgene bottles, and if they're feeling really destructive, their nylon caps.
Down at the training center, the adult leaders get to have their belongings branded by girls. These girls, on staff at Philmont, are difficult to watch by one who has branded hundreds of calves.
First, they don't know exactly how to heat up the iron. Second, they hold the iron up in the breeze before branding while saying things like, "Did you see what Kathy did today? . . ." Meanwhile the branding iron is cooling from "not really red hot" to "warmish." Third, they brand the shoe, but it is more of a sunburn than a brand. Then they say, "Do you think it needs a little bit more?"
Then they repeat the process, placing the somewhat cooled iron sort of where the original brand was. It took three attempts before I said, "Looks fine." Although a calf would be ashamed to have such a faint brand.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps you should have started with the question... why do we need to be branded?

    :-) Just sayin'