By Hardy Jackson
Some time back, a group out in Waco, Texas, announced it was boycotting Girl Scout Cookies.
Don’t worry, I’m not fixing to get off on a political tangent. It was a Waco matter and if you are interested, you can google it.
What I want to say is that the Girl Scouts might not be the best group to pick a fight with. They are sneaky. They are tough. And they stick together.
I know of what I speak. When my oldest daughter came of Girl Scout age, we went to sign her up. When we arrived, we were told that they might not have a troop that year because the leader had moved away and there was no replacement. Not wanting my darling to miss the joy of Scouting, I volunteered to fill in until someone qualified could be found.
That was how I became the only male Girl Scout leader in the Council — maybe the only one in the state. You see, once I volunteered, they quit looking. I was it. They are sneaky.
So, for the next two years I had a troop of fourth, fifth and sixth grade girls. We hiked, camped, went on field trips, put on programs at the local nursing home, cooked and ate all manner of stuff and sold cookies.
Now let me say that the lady leaders from other troops, seeing I was over my head and out of my element, did all they could to help me survive. When our groups camped together, they watched over my girls while I moved my tent off a-ways away — a concession to female modesty. Exiling me also enabled the ladies to deal with “problems” that arose — like the time the younger girls stole the older girls’ training bras and ran them up the flag pole. I arrived in time to see a host of 32 A-cups flapping in the breeze.
But what impressed me most about my girls was the bond of loyalty that developed among them. And how that loyalty played out when it was tested.
One of our girls was very small, tiny almost. She was also quiet and painfully shy. She didn’t want to be a Scout. Her parents had forced her to join in hopes she would make friends, for she had none. Fourth grade and no friends. Think about it.
To my delight the other girls adopted her. Pulled her into the games and skits. At the meetings she became one of the group.
But once the meeting was over, she returned to that other world and she was, as they say, perfect “picking on” material.
One day she arrived at the meeting crying. Before I could find out what was wrong, a couple of the sixth grade girls took her off to the side and after an animated discussion I could tell that they had agreed to do something.
A few days later I found out what.
It seems that some boys had been lying in wait for my little Scout when she walked home from meetings. They would taunt her, take her books, mess up her papers and otherwise generally harass her. Only this time, when they jumped out of the bushes, they were greeted by three sixth grade girls who had left puberty behind and were tall, strong and mad. And in the melee that followed, my girls, to quote the parent who told me, “beat the pluperfect hell out of the boys.”
With that, the harassing ended. The boys could not report the incident without admitting that they were whipped by girls. The girls never mentioned it for fear they would be punished for fighting. And I kept their secret.
So, take that as a warning folks. If you have a problem with the Scouts, go to their leaders and work it out. But don’t go doing things that would upset the girls.
Meanwhile, out in Waco, cookie sales increased because former Girl Scouts bought every cookie the girls had.
Like I said, they stick together.
Harvey H. Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.