Marco, Marty and the Twins

by Nick Brady

Chapter 27

Copyright © 2016 – 2016 by Nick Brady, all rights reserved.

When school started Brian went back to working part time and began to think about finishing his Eagle Scout. He had finished all his merit badges but had not completed the service project.

He brought the twins home from the Scout meeting Monday night looking upset.

"What's the matter?" Marco asked him.

"The Scoutmaster called me aside tonight and had some bad news."

"What's up?"

"We are losing our sponsor. The Methodist church is kicking us out."

"They have sponsored your troop for a long time, haven't they?"

"Yes, but I guess some of the people there are real conservative. When the Scouts voted to let gay scouts and scouters serve openly they got upset and made a stink."

"Really? I don't think that is the policy of the national church."

"Well it is for the church that sponsors us. We have two months to find another place to go."

Marco frowned. I wonder if they can do that legally?"

"I don't know, but our troop committee decided not to fight it. We have to find another sponsoring organization. What am I going to do? I turn eighteen in October and I don't even have an Eagle project yet. I think I'm screwed," he told Marco.

"Well, what do we always do when we are in a hard spot?"

Brian laughed, "Go see Father Hoover?"

"It can't hurt. Why don't you tell him about your predicament when you see him on Sunday."

"I guess so. He has helped us out of a lot of jams. You know, he's kind of amazing."

"Why don't you talk with him. I will sit in if you like."

"Would you?"

"Sure. We are in this together kiddo," Marco smiled. "I am on your side all the way."

Brian thought about Noah and felt like the luckiest boy in the world.

Marco called Father Hoover during the week and gave him a head's up. After church they asked to speak to him and went into his little office.

"I understand that you have some things to work out," he said to Brian.

"Yes sir, two things really. Out scout troop is losing our sponsor and have to find somewhere else to go. Our old sponsor is kicking us out because of the gay thing."

"I see. That has happened to a number of troops I understand. It seems very unfortunate to me," the priest responded.

"I guess we are looking for another sponsor but we have a two month deadline and then we have to move somewhere."

"I understand. Well, that is an interesting coincidence. It seems that at our last vestry meeting it was proposed that we sponsor a Boy Scout Troop as part of our community outreach. Isn't that interesting?"

Brian looked surprised. "Really? That's amazing. Do you think St Jerome's would sponsor us?"

Father Hoover smiled broadly. "I don't see why not. We have three of our most outstanding members who are part of that troop. It would seem like a good choice."

"I can't believe it. This is too good to be true."

"God is good," he replied. "Nothing our Lord does ever really surprises me. I will speak with our people and try to get an answer for you quickly, but I can't imagine that it will be a problem. Was there something else?"

Brian opened his mouth then closed it again. "Uh, yes, I need an Eagle Scout service project and I don't have a clue."

"I see. Well that is a coincidence. We have a project that might work for you if you are interested. We have for some time talked about building a walking path around the perimeter of the church property for exercise and meditation. We would provide the materials of course, but someone needs to lay it out and coordinate the activity. I doubt that it would take a great deal of time."

Brian immediately began to plan. "What kind of path? I understand about exercise but what is the deal with meditation?"

Father Hoover leaned forward and began to scribble on a sheet of paper. "There was talk at one time of creating a walking labyrinth for Christian meditation like the great labyrinth at the Cathedral at Chartes, but we decided that was too complicated. An alternative to that is a walking path with benches for rest and meditation, perhaps with scriptural passages as signposts. Here, like this." He showed a simple sketch to Brian. "Do you think that your Scouts could help with this?"

'Sure, that isn't complicated. I mean we could manage the path if we had the materials. The meditation part I'm not so sure about."

"Oh of course not. We would add that later. But it would be very nice to have the path constructed and benches set in place. We were thinking of using crushed limestone and laying it out so that it drained properly. I imagine it would be a good idea to anchor the benches so that they did not wander off during the night." He looked at Brian and smiled. "What do you think about that? Could you do that for us?"

Brian's face broke up in a grin. "I'm sure we can. I will try to get that approved as quickly as possible so we can start to work. "I don't know how to thank you Father."

"It is strange how things fall together isn't it? I wonder who makes that happen?"

Brian shook his head. "It's enough to make a believer out of me."

"Well now. That would be a nice fringe benefit wouldn't it? God works in mysterious ways, Brian."

Father Hoover turned to Marco who had not spoken since entering the office. "And have you moved into your new home? How is that coming along?"

"We are getting ready to pack. I think we will be in there in another week or so. I understand that there is already a buyer for our old house."

"Isn't it wonderful how these things come together. Now is there anything else we need to discuss?"

Brian stood as if to leave then walked around the desk and hugged the old man. "Thank you Father. I don't know what to say. All of you have been so kind to me."

"It is because we love you, child. You are very easy to love you know."

Brian tried to speak but his eyes were wet. "Thank you," he whispered.

Marco shook hands with his priest and they left.

Marty and the twins joined them and they started to drive home. Brian took a deep breath and said softly. "I need to do some things."

"What do you need to do?" Marco asked him.

"I need to talk to Father Hoover about some stuff. Like I guess I should be baptized. I have never done that. I don't guess I ever thought about it but until now. And not just because he has been so helpful, I really feel like that's something I want to do, something I need to do."

Marco smiled at him. "I bet we can arrange for that to happen."

"I know that all of you take the church seriously, but you have never pushed me to do anything. I thought you would try to preach to me or something but you never have. I guess this is something that I really want to do for myself."

"Well, we figured that when you were ready you would let us know," Marty assured him, "and you have."

Brian rode home thinking about Noah. He liked Noah but he couldn't see that relationship going anywhere. He wished there was something he could do to make a difference for Noah, but he didn't know what that would be. For now he needed to focus on his Eagle project and began to sort through the construction of the walking path.

A week later they got word that the house move was a go. The finances had been worked out and they could move at their earliest convenience.

"I have already called that 'Two Men and a Truck' outfit and they can schedule us for next week. I think that means that we need to do some packing, Marty told them.

"What do we have to do?" Ben asked and looked at Marco.

"I suggest that I go by the box store and pick up a bale of moving boxes. Then we all need to empty out all our stuff into those boxes. Put your name on each box so we know where it goes. Put anything you can't live without in the living room and we'll make a big donation to Goodwill. The movers will truck it over to the new place and sit it in the right rooms so we can unpack when we get there. We can all work together on the living room and the kitchen."

"Can't we sell some of that stuff?" Sam wondered.

"How much of the stuff you can't live without do you think is actually worth anything?" Marty asked him.

Sam shrugged, "I see what you mean. I don't guess we really have time anyway."

"Sam, you and Ben help Daddy with the living room and the garage. I will do the bathroom and the kitchen and dining room because I want to know where all that stuff is," Marco instructed. Brian, "you have enough on your plate right now with your Eagle project. You take care of your own room and leave the rest to us, OK?"

"Well, if you're sure. I don't want to be a slacker."

"Don't worry about that Brian. We can do the rest. Marco's right," Marty agreed. "We just need to leave out enough clothes to get us through the weekend and pack the rest."

"What about our bicycles and lawn mowers and that kind of stuff?" Brian wondered.

"The movers are supposed to box all that stuff up for us. I hope they do a good job. I will be watching them," Marty said.

"I suspect that while they are packing up and moving it might be a good idea if we were around ot keep an eye on things," Marco said to Marty.

"Yes, I will have to take some time off work. I have plenty of vacation time saved up. It shouldn't be a problem," Marty agreed.

I'll take care of getting the utilities switched over to our names at the new place and scheduled to be turned off over here," Marco volunteered.

They discussed the details over dinner and felt like they had a good plan in place.

The next day Marco arrived with a crate of moving boxes and set them in the living room. They all started to sort through the mountain of miscellaneous that had accumulated on the closets and the back of the garage.

"Where did we get all this stuff? I forgot we even had a lot of this," Marty shook his head.

Marco laughed, "If we forgot we had it we probably don't need it."

By the weekend the closets and dressers were bare and there were stacks of boxes everywhere. As soon as Brian had his belongings packed up they shooed him off and worked on the rest of the house.

Brian recruited his scout friend Luke and went over to the church and began to lay out the walking path with stakes and string. He made up a bill of materials for Father Hoover and started laying out a detailed plan. He gave a copy to Father Hoover and another for his scoutmaster. They both approved and the work day was scheduled for the first weekend in September.

Brian made a good plan and by the time they had moved houses the materials began to arrive at the church. There was an enormous pile of crushed rock and a number of concrete drainage pipes to allow for the low places. He had tried to estimate the right amount, relying on his limited knowledge of math to compute volumes. He checked it several times and had estimated a little on the high side. Better too much than not enough. There would always be a use for some extra rock. Father Hoover had specified the location for seven benches and Brian tried to locate those under some trees for shade. The area around each bench would be wider than the path to make way for traffic and a place for a few people to congregate. It began to look pretty good.

Father Hoover came out to watch and make suggestions from time to time and looked very pleased. Wayne was understanding and Noah told him not to worry about work at the shop. They both seemed to understand that his time was limited and wanted to do what they could.

"You really don't mind?" Brain asked Noah. "I don't want to leave you holding the bag."

"No, it's OK Brian. This is something that's important for you. It's OK."

"Thanks Noah. I have been working towards this for a long time. I appreciate you understanding. This will all be over in a few weeks."

Wayne called in from the front of the shop. "Don't worry about it Brian. I'm an Eagle Scout too. You just do a good job on your project."

With school, the Eagle project and trying to get a few things done at the shop, Brian was a very busy guy. The weekend of the move came and everything was chaos at the house for several days. Marco and Marty tried to get as much put away as they could then supervised Sam and Ben when they came home from school. Most of the furniture from the old house was placed quickly in what seemed like the right places although the lager house now looked a little bare. The absence of a lot of the things that was left behind made it seem even roomier.

"Hey you guys. Why don't you see if you can get most of Brian's stuff unpacked and put away for him," Marco suggested. "He has a lot to worry about right now."

"OK, but if he doesn't like where we put it don't be mad at us."

"Marco grinned, "He'll find it eventually. See if you can't get his boxes unpacked. "

That night Brian was heard grumbling, "Where is my underwear? Oh, OK, never mind, I found it."

After a few days of reshuffling the new place began to look pretty good. Pictures were hung on the walls and prized mementos were located and displayed. A nice grouping above the fireplace was made with Marco's Indian and the painting he did of the hawks. Next to them was the photograph of all of them in their Scout uniforms. It was beginning to look like home.

All too soon it was time for the Eagle project and Brian recruited about a dozen of the scouts to help. Wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels were borrowed and the work begun. Seven teak wood benches were delivered and holes were dug for some concrete anchors to secure them. Father Hoover appeared with a an insulated keg of koolaid and a tray of doughnuts to sustain them. He opened a folding chair and sat to watch the activity, obviously delighted. As if by a miracle, by late in the afternoon the project was completed, assisted by Marco, Marty and a good gathering of church people. It looked great.

Mark Kingston the Scoutmaster showed up and looked on with approval.

"What do you think?" he asked Father Hoover. "Does this look satisfactory?"

"I think it looks wonderful, better than I imagined. I think we should sign off on a job well done."

"If you are happy then I am happy," he laughed. "Good job, Brian."

Brian was tired, sweaty and covered with grim, but very happy. "Did I do it?"

"You did indeed," Mr. Kingston replied. "Congratulations Eagle Scout."

Brian summoned up enough energy to jump up and yell, "Thank you guys, all of you. I couldn't have done it without you!" then he turned to Father Hoover. "Or without you. I need to talk with you about some things, but not until I have had a shower."

"I will see you at church tomorrow Brian. We will have time to talk then."

Brian shook hands all around and thanked each boy by name. Then the rest of the job was done, cleaning tools and loading the borrowed equipment up to be returned. It was dark by the time they got back home and took showers. It was nice to have the extra bathroom. By the time they congregated in the dining room several large pizzas had arrived and they fell to eat without much discussion.

"That went well,"Marty said. "You did a good job with that."

"Brian smiled, "Well, I had a lot of help."

"Of course. Part of your job was to organize this and you did that well," Marco told him. "I am really proud of you Brian."

"We all are," Marty added.

"Hey, we helped too," Ben reminded him."

"You all did," Brian agreed. "You know, I think I am the luckiest guy in the world."

After a little small talk, they decided on an early bed time.

"We should really invite Uncle Eugene to see our new house," Marco suggested to Marty.

"You're right. We haven't seen them for months."

"Do you remember how to grill hamburgers?" Marco teased.

"That's one of the few things I can cook without screwing it up."

Marco called his uncle and invited his family over for a cookout on Saturday afternoon. Eugene said that he and Eunice would love to come and would bring their daughter Sarah with them. The older boys were away and could not come.

They arrived at two in the afternoon bearing food. "I thought you might enjoy an apple pie," Eunice smiled.

"We would for sure," Marco took the pie and laid it on the kitchen table.

"John and Jacob aren't living with us now but we still have sweet Sarah," Eugene said. "We will have to enjoy her while we can. She is a senior this year and will be going off to college after the summer."

"Brian is a senior this year too," Marco told him. "He plans on college too but hasn't decided on a school yet."

Eugene shook Brian's hand. "These kids grow up too soon. Jacob is married now and they are expecting their first child. I'm going to be a grandpa. Joshua is engaged but they haven't set a date yet."

Sam and Ben hugged Aunt Eunice and sniffed at the pie. "It's nice to see you," Ben told her.

"You boys are growing up too. My goodness, you are taller than I am," she exclaimed.

They were given a quick tour of the house them went out into the back yard to watch Marty work his magic on the grill.

"This is a nice place,"Eugene told them. "You needed a bigger place now that your family is growing."

"Hi you guys, it's nice to see you again. Sarah, you are prettier every time I see you," Marty said, causing Sarah to blush. "Where are you going to college next year? Have you decided yet?"

"I think Central State in Edmond," she replied shyly. "I want to be a pharmacist."

"Oh really, that's great. Brian is thinking about medical school. You will both be in the same field," Marco told her.

"Are you guys still going to powwows?" Sam asked.

"Oh yes. In fact we are planning to go to a big one down in San Marcos Texas in a few weeks. You should come down there with us." Eugene told them.

"Where is San Marco?" Ben wondered.

"That's down almost to San Antonio," Marco replied. "That sounds like quite an adventure. Is that a big one?"

"Oh yes, it draws people from a three state area. It is the Drum Spirit Powwow. They have it every year but this will be our first time to go down there."

"Oh really, when is it?" Marco asked.

It is coming up weekend after next. We want to go down on Friday and come back late Sunday afternoon. Do you think you could make it?"

"Yeah Daddy, could we?" Ben was excited already.

"I don't know, maybe. Who is going?" Marco asked.

"Just Eunice and Sarah and me. This will be Sarah's last powwow before she startes to college and we thought it might be nice."

"That does sound like fun. Marty, do you think you and Brian could get away?"

"No, I don't think so. I am in the middle of a project at work," Marty said. "What about you Brian?"

Brian frowned, "It sounds like fun, but we are behind at the bike shop and I really should work that weekend."

Marty laughed, "Sounds like Brian and I will have to keep the home fires burning. You could take the twins though."

"Let us talk about it and I'll get back to you," Marco told him.

"Can we Daddy? Can we?" both boys chanted.

"We'll see,"

Ben elbowed Sam, "He didn't say no. That is almost as good as a yes."

Marco smiled and winked at Eugene. "I'll get back to you on that."

Eunice smiled in a knowing way, "If you do decide to go, I have some regalia that belonged to our boys that I think will fit Sam and Ben. I expect they have outgrown that thing I made for them when they were younger. I can't believe that has been five years ago and they have surely grown a lot."

Sam and Ben knew enough not to say anything but were grinning broadly. This looked very positive to them.

Monday after school Brian reported to work as usual. Noah was there getting ready to paint a frame for a quality bicycle that was being restored to like new condition for a customer.

"How's it going?" Brian asked.

Noah continued to work without replying for several minutes then put down his tools. "I need to talk to you," he said.

"OK, what's up?"

"Let's go outside."

Brian followed Noah behind the shop to a storage shed where bikes were kept. Noah paused for a minute then took a deep breath. "I think I owe you an apology. I behaved badly the other night and I really feel crummy about that. You are a very decent guy and I have a lot of respect for you. I'm sorry I cam on to you like that."

Brian shrugged, "Hey, no problem. I'm OK. I didn't mean to make you feel bad or anything."

"No, you didn't do anything. Look Brian, I'm not really a bad guy. I don't know what I was thinking. To tell the truth I really like you and maybe I was hopig that we were going to go somewhere. I went about things all wrong and came off like a jerk. I'm sorry, OK?"

Brian smiled, "No problem Noah, apology accepted. To tell the truth I like you too, I just wasn't ready to move quite so fast. I'm not a prude, I'm just cautious, maybe too cautious, I don't know. Maybe we can sort of start over."

Brian stuck out his hand and smiled. "It's tough to apologize and I respect that."

Noah shook his hand and looked relieved, then turned and went back into the shop. They set to work and let the subject drop.

"Did you finish that Eagle project?" Noah asked.

"I did. I think I made it just in time. I have an eighteenth birthday come up in a few weeks. I have a board of review to do but that should be mostly a formality. The Scoutmaster told me I was good to go."

"Awesome. Let me know when you have the ceremony. I would like to be there."

"Sure," Brian grinned. "I'll do that."

"And another thing," Noah stopped and looked at him. "I called TCC and think I'm going to enroll in that business course. I got to thinking that was a pretty good idea."

"Good for you Noah. I hope that works out for you."

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