Dizzy Blonds, Strapless Gowns, and Hawaiian Ham

August 7, 2020
Karl sit-upon
Karl's sit-upon

I experience a lot more quiet time than usual lately. I don’t listen to music or podcasts while I’m gardening or cooking in my kitchen. I don’t think I’ve lived this many quiet days in my entire life. My days at BonBonerie were always full of doing things or talking through problems or ideas with staff or chatting with customers. The other day the following song came to me as I quietly pruned the roses in my garden. It was from my camping days as a Girl Scout.


The song went like this:

Oh you can’t get to heaven … in a strapless gown … cause the Lord’s afraid … it might fall down … Oh you can’t get to heaven in strapless gown cause the Lord’s afraid it might fall down … Ain’t gonna grieve my Lord no more.


Next  verse:

Oh you can’t get to heaven … with peroxide hair … cause the Lord don’t want…. no dizzy blonds there.

Oh you can’t get to heaven in peroxide hair … cause the Lord don’t want no dizzy blonds there … Ain’t gonna grieve my Lord no more.


I thought the lyrics were funny, but it occurred to me that they also provided a curious warning to us as we innocently marched through the woods, all of us quite a few years from peroxiding our hair or wearing strapless gowns. Were we were getting subtle warnings about the women we should be careful not to become? I’m sure we were. I wondered who had written it and how it had become a staple for our daily woods walking along with John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith, the Prune Song or We Are Marching to Pretoria. I would never have guessed that I still knew the words to any of those songs but they rose to the forefront of my mind like ice in a glass of water.


            My Girl Scout troop camped a lot. We did most things around the campground with a sit-upon dangling from our backsides. The sit-upon provided protection for our pants in case we wanted to sit on a wet rock or a patch of wet grass without getting wet. A few years ago, while vacationing in a cabin in West Virginia, I made my husband a sit-upon in the shape of a cat. The directions are easy. First, you cut a stack of newspapers about half an inch thick into whatever shape covers your behind and the back of your legs. A cat is good shape because the ears are where you can thread your belt through and the two circles of a cat’s body makes it long enough to cover your backside. To finish it you cut the identical cat shape out of oilcloth or in my case a clear plastic tablecloth, an inch bigger all around and then sew it with a strong piece of yarn around the edges. Here is a picture of my husband modeling his for me. Sit-upons look a lot better on Girl Scouts.


            Camping was really fun. Some of the best times revolved around cooking. Everyone knows when you are camping almost everything tastes great, especially after a day exploring the woods. These are a few of my favorite culinary triumphs: first is the unbelievably “fantastic” brownie stew, which was made by setting your personal  empty coffee can in the coals of the campfire, browning some ground beef in the bottom as it sat on the coals, then adding a can of Campbells vegetable soup. Stir until combined and eat!  Delicious, right? I insisted on making that dish for my family after returning from camp. They were kind enough to indulge me, but it never tasted as good as it did made over a campfire. Another meal on our campground menu was Hawaiian ham. You placed a slice of SPAM on the on top your upside-down coffee can which sat over the coals, then placed a ring of canned pineapple on the spam.  Finish it off with a slice of Velveeta cheese. It’s ready to eat when the cheese melts. YUM???


            While reminiscing about my days in Girl Scouts, I also started thinking about the badges we earned that we carefully had sewn onto the sashes we wore across our chests. I was proud of earning those badges, but when I looked back at the Good Grooming Badge, it made me smile. Achieving that one included learning how to walk tall by carrying a book on top of our heads, giving ourselves a manicure and learning how to parade down a runway like a model. We put on a fashion show for our proud mothers wearing the dresses we had sewn for another Girl Scout badge. From curtains to Halloween costumes, I still relish having learned how to sew. Girl Scouts provided me with the confidence to try many new things, especially under the kind tutelage of our talented troop leaders.


            Those experiences fostered my delight in using my head and hands to provide for myself and others and also demonstrated the benefits of being a member of a great organization. It meant being able to accomplish something bigger than myself and taught me the personal benefits gained from hard work. The Girl Scout organization implemented many systems and structures that created the foundation for me and my friends to explore new worlds, even though some of the experiences were just minutes from my house.


            The pandemic has demonstrated how important trustworthy organizations are to our lives. How trusting in good systems and good people can give us the confidence to move forward. Leadership matters. 


Sharon Butler