Early on, it was apparent that she was a child who needed to be governed by a set of strictly enforced rules. Without them, her exasperated parents had little hope of saving her from herself, and at the same time, saving themselves. When either her mother or father began to waver over the severe boundaries imposed on their daughter, simply recalling the incident of the living room cookout sufficed to serve as a stern reminder that they were not being unreasonable. She was eleven at the time, and left home alone because it was felt she was old enough to be trusted. But for a hungry preteen girl with a keen imagination, hot dogs and a book of matches had proved to be too tempting. After that, the Girl Scout Handbook had been taken away.
There were other, earlier misadventures as well, and when recounted beginning to end, played much like a Laurel and Hardy film. A game of barber shop involving the dog (the sedative prescribed by the vet had helped tremendously.) Pretending that the bath tub was a shark infested pool (the living room ceiling was not a total loss.) By the time her high school years were completed, and she had been pulled over for driving with her feet, her parents were worn out.
A handful of years later, she was home for a visit. It was early in the evening and she was alone, her mother and father attending an engagement they could not get out of. She smiled again at the lively conversation that had taken place at dinner-reminiscing about what a handful she had been. As her parents prepared to leave, her father had teased her, “Now honey, please stay out of trouble while we are gone!”
For the first half hour she was good. She flipped though a magazine and made herself a cup of cocoa. But then she wandered up to her old room and started to peruse the volumes on her little oak book shelf.
And, she found it.
Her forgotten Girl Scout Handbook…