Eagle Scout & Good Neighbors
"Oh hey. What are you guys up to?"
Two interesting teenagers, the carrot-headed boy in shorts and full Scout regalia, and his partner-in-mischief wearing a vest with her Girl Scout merit badges sewn on the front.
"We're building two dog shelters," the girl told me, eyes bright as new pennies. "They're for the animal shelter."
"Hm! How will you build them?"
"Out of wood," said the young fellow, who carried himself like a leader of men. "And with misters for hot days, powered by a solar collector." He grinned.
I grinned right back. These kids had no drug energy around them at all, nor were they chasing pokemons over virtual or actual cliffs.
The girl looked proud and told me, "It's going to complete his Eagle Scout qualification, and I'll get a badge."
I puttered some more piling up clay tiles for a handy-hands-at-home project, aware of the Scouts in my peripheral vision. They were working well in partnership and seemed to light the space around them.
My next stop was at the Cherokee soapmaker's nearby, a friend. I'd been in the week before to reconnoiter and returned with cash money. Each year I buy a bulk-price case of fragrant artisan soaps, to tuck away for this and that gifts.
"Do you remember," my friend asked, "the old lady who was here when you were in before?"
I nodded, sniffing a bar redolent of sandalwood and cedar.
"Well, she's been coming in a lot, buying a small salve or one soap. She finally told me she comes, because she's lonely"
I looked up at my friend's kind eyes.
"So, I've put her to work! She's going to help me do bath balls and I'll pay her a little something for each one. And she'll have a place to come to and not be so lonely."