Wednesday 30 November 2011

The Dingo Ate My Baby

More than a few years ago now, I was a venturer leader. Venturers are what the scouting movement calls young people between the ages of 14 and 17. We had a pretty good time because the other leader and I weren’t really “scouting” people and I have a pretty flexible attitude when it comes to arbitrary rules, or what I consider to be arbitrary rules.

Scouter Ken B. and I had only one rule. We figured that at their age more than one rule would get in the way of all of the hormones that were bouncing around inside of their heads. It was a simple rule, but it covered pretty much all situations.


Of course this rule was broken countless times, but usually because of those arbitrary rules that I mentioned earlier. In Venturers they do all of the planning and pretty much all of the work that needs to be done. It was my kind of job. One year, for our big trip they decided that we should go to Kelowna BC. and stay in a youth hostel. They had done the tenting thing so often that they wanted to experience a different form of travel and if it involved me sleeping on a mattress indoors instead of a tent, I was all for it.

The boys did all of the planning from the activities we would do to the menu and shopping list and the number of cars that we needed. Ken and I just checked it over to make sure we weren’t eating sour gummy bears for the entire trip. The only thing that we didn’t do was to get permission from Scouts Canada to take the boys out of province. It seems that Scouts Canada are a little touchy about it and we would need all sorts of permission forms, insurance forms and forms for the forms that weren’t formed yet. It would take months to get the clearance and it would quite possibly have to be put off until the next year. The other option was to not tell anyone we were going until we came back and then say “Sorry, we didn’t know.” Guess which way we went?

We had a great time travelling and while we were in Kelowna. We cycled the Kettle Valley Railway and did other stuff that I can’t remember. The hostel we stayed at reminded me of my hippie days. It was the Samesun Hostel, because we all live under the same sun. One of the owners was a lingerie model from Europe, and I tried to get her to show me her portfolio without any success. It seems she thought this was a good investment.

We were getting ready to leave when a pretty 20 year old Australian girl came up to me and asked if she could catch a ride with us back to Calgary. I told her that we were pretty full, but I would ask the boys and if they said yes then she was good to go. I think she went to pack right away. We both knew what the 15 year old boys would say. After getting their answer I went back and told her that she could come on one condition. She asked what she would have to do. I told her that she would have to say “The dingo ate my baby!” at least three times. She thought it a little odd I am sure, but she was getting a free ride after all.

During the trip, we found out that she had been travelling for about a year and when she was done in another year or so she would go back home and take over the family banana plantation. Since bananas are harvested year round, she would never get another holiday. She also told us that there are about five kinds of deadly spiders that make their home in banana bunches and several varieties of poisonous snake that hang around the grass. I couldn’t believe she would do this and asked her why. She told me that her father had worked on other plantations all of his life and finally earned enough to buy a small plantation of his own. Being your own man is quite something. I told her that she was a very good daughter and her father should be very proud of her.

When we dropped her off I said one last thing to her. “If you happen to get married and have children, you should watch out for the dingoes.” I drove off laughing and I am pretty sure she was thinking “Thank god that nutter didn’t kill me!”

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