The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,649 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—5,730 total! Take it away MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
This last weekend was the last weekend I felt good about hiking. After all, winter is coming, and though I have First Aid Kits ready in my car, I have no desire to be eaten by bears (or are they hibernating?) or get stuck in a snow drift, or miss my favorite holiday movie on the Hallmark Channel. So, I dusted off my best flannel shirt, laced up my boots, and set off on an adventure of the hiking and exploring and Merit Badge-ing type!
I was on the lookout for three things for this badge: my state tree, my state flower, and my state bird …
The tree was easy. Found that Western White Pine without hardly trying! Booyah! Of course, it helps that I had learned how to identify it back in my Girl Scout days, and I purposely went hiking in a spot where I knew they grew. Never mind. I was still feeling proud of myself. I snapped a photo of my prize, gave it a little kiss on the bark, and moved along.
The flower was not as easy. Probably should have tried for this badge at a time of year when, oh I don’t know, flowers bloom. Yeah, hadn’t thought that one through. Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound, as Gradma Barbie used to say. I kept scouring. I had brought along my handy dandy and well-loved flower identifying book, and the author was sweet enough to include photos of every stage of the Syringa’s development. Unfortunately, I wasn’t getting anywhere, though I found a lovely patch of Poison Ivy I don’t want to talk about.
Can I get half a badge maybe? Is that possible? A badge for trying? I have itchy ankles to prove it.
Anyway, I moved along to the state bird: the Mountain Bluebird. I was in the mountains, after all, how hard could it be?
I swear, that bird has it in for me. I found Ravens, Hawks, Sparrows, Turkeys, and I’m pretty certain a Bald Eagle, but no Mountain Bluebird. Were they hibernating with the bears? Were they building nests made entirely out of Syringa flowers? What gives?
Dejected and rejected, hopeless and helpless, I trudged back to my car. I ate a granola bar in silence, the only sound, my tears dripping down my nose. I was really taking it hard, this failure of the Merit Badge sort. I had had a nice hike, yes (my sore legs and itchy ankles were a testament to that), but I still felt discouraged.
The only thing to do when you’re feeling that way is build a campfire in your backyard and roast marshmallows! Lucky for me, that was exactly Step II of the Out Stepping Badge. I set up camp in my yard and had a roaring fire going in just a few minutes. I invited Mr. Wonderful and the chickens, of course (not to mention a bottle of Calamine lotion) and we had a great, sticky time. I could hardly believe it when I looked up and saw Guess Who? perched on my stack of firewood …
a Mountain Bluebird! It would have been even better if he had had a Syringa branch in his beak, but ah well, you can’t have everything.