This little goofball is my nephew, Dan. The photo is one of about a thousand that my family compiled for a digital picture frame for my parents at Christmas. So I don't know when this particular photo was taken, though I'm guessing it was somewhere around 1995. Well, today, Dan (much taller and only slightly less goofy) was honored at a ceremony where the honor of Eagle Scout was bestowed upon him.
He's been a Scout for about 12 years and -- having voiced his desire at age 10 to become an Eagle Scout -- spent a noteworthy amount of time and effort in scouting activities. For his project, he built a bocce court at a local park for the town's Recreation Department (the same one formerly headed by his grandfather, who also served as his Eagle Scout mentor).
Dan keeps plenty busy in addition to his scouting. He's been a gourmet and able chef since a very early age. When he was 12 years old and came to Connecticut to spend a week with us, he came prepared to manage our meals. He brought a couple of his favorite recipes, and we spent some time going through my cookbooks to come up with ideas for more.
One of our first expeditions was to the grocery store where this pre-teen wunderkind convinced me to buy saffron -- a spice so expensive, you buy it not by the ounce but by the gram. By the end of the week, we'd enjoyed dishes like Banana French Toast and Thai Fish, and he'd hand-written his own cookbook for us. Oh, and we did also fit in some fun kid visit things like the zoo, the aquarium, the children's museum, and 4th of July fireworks.
Dan just recently celebrated his high school graduation, and will be going to college in the mountains far away from home to study forestry. We'll miss him, but his new vocation might well land him back in New Hampshire where there are plenty of trees to be found.
Congratulations, congratulations, and congratulations, Dan. We're triply proud of you!