March 7, 2000
Perry native Stan Rutherford, a highway patrol trooper for 20 years, kept local Rotarians interested and amused with his presentation to the club the other day. Stan, who-retired March 2, has been a pilot with the patrol for several years. He was one of the veterans in that branch, enough so that he was entrusted with piloting the state's newest aircraft to watch for traffic violators on the Oklahoma turnpike system. Stan sprinkled a good deal of humor along the way while explaining his functions. Recognizing that his subject might be a bit dry, he worked in several humorous asides and personal comments to keep club members' attention. For starters, he read a make-believe letter from a youngster at summer camp, trying to reassure his parents that everything was OK. I thought you might enjoy it, too. Here it is:
"Dear Mom and Dad:
"Our Scoutmaster told us to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and are worried. We are OK. Only one of our tents and two sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened.
"Oh yes. Please call Chad's mother and tell her he is OK. He can't write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search and rescue Jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn't been for the lightning.
"Scoutmaster Walt got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn't hear him.
"Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood didn't burn, but one of the tents did. Also, some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back.
"We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Walt gets the car fixed. It wasn't his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Walt said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that's probably why he can't get insurance.
"We think it's a neat car. He doesn't care if we get it dirty, and if it's hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the fenders. It gets pretty hot with ten people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us. Scoutmaster Walt is a neat guy.
"Don't worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he's teaching Terry how to drive on the mountain roads where there isn't any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks.
"This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Walt wouldn't let me because I can't swim, and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood.
"Scoutmaster Walt isn't crabby like some Scoutmasters. He didn't even get mad about the life jackets. He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble.
"Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Wade and I threw up but Scoutmaster Walt said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken. He said they got sick that way with food they ate in prison. I'm so glad he got out and became our Scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time.
"By the way, what is a pedophile?
"I have to go now. We are going to town to mail our letters and buy bullets. Don't worry about anything. We are fine.
"P.S. How long has it been since I had a tetanus shot?"
Thanks to Stan Rutherford for sharing this bit of laugh-provoking whimsy.