‘Nary a dry eye’ after grandmother’s poem at Eagle court of honor

The road was twisted, dark and damp, but somewhere, somehow, there was always there to find, the lamp of life to guide you through life’s tricky game of chance.

Heartfelt poetry about overcoming hardships isn’t what you’d expect to hear at an Eagle Scout court of honor. That’s what made Billy Kleinknecht’s ceremony last weekend in Spokane, Wash., so special.

You see, Billy, a newly minted Eagle in Troop 130, was raised by his grandmother, Bonnie Ferrell. She signed Billy up for the Scouting program when he was little. She held his hand through Cub Scouts. She watched him progress and mature through each rank in Boy Scouts. And when he reached the pinnacle of the Scouting program, it was Bonnie who pinned the shiny Eagle Scout medal onto Billy’s chest.

Any Eagle Scout court of honor is special, but Bonnie and Billy’s story turned this one into “one of the most emotional ceremonies I have ever attended,” Tim McCandless, Inland Northwest Council Scout Executive, told me in an e-mail yesterday.

“For the ceremony, his grandmother wrote and read the attached poem which left nary a dry eye in the house,” Tim continues. “I thought that the poem might be valued by Scouting magazine readers. I have forwarded the poem and photos with Bonnie’s permission.”

The print product doesn’t publish poetry, but I do. I’ve pasted the complete poem after the jump. Take a look. 

A Grandparent’s Song

The books you’ve read, the dreams you’ve seen fulfilled, can only be on this night, a Grandparents dream long come true.

We started as the grandparents who saw you once a week.

We loved you and spoiled you, then sent you on your way, yearning for the day you’d be back to spoil yet another day.

Somehow, some way, life changed for you and here you came to stay each minute and each hour of each and every day.

It was a time within our hearts we wanted you to learn to live life in a normal way, growing and learning and wanting to become the spark of life we have before us here today.

As years progressed we watched you start your journey to become a man, a leader and adventurer, the spirit of truth, a symbol to all.

But for right now, in this light of day, you are just a Cubbie, very proud indeed, with buttons bursting at each and every seam.

You knew all the while that someday you’d fulfill the dream of each and every other Cubbie you could see that day.

You learned all the hand signs, and recited all the words; you even learned how to tie a square knot, lashing and bow-line.

You crossed the bridge into a world where first you were a young scout evolving to be the ranks of Tenderfoot, 2nd and 1st Class Scout.

We watched you give both sweat and time, until you became a Star, and then you gave your heart and soul to others, so a Life Scout you could become.

Guardians, grandparents, parents & friends, watched through the years as  mountains you climbed and lakes you swam, couldn’t keep you from this point in life, where goals you sought were so very close at hand.

You may have needed help, traversing impossible terrains and you may have asked for a hand or two to help you through the night.

But never did you faultier in wanting to become the highest rank of all, that of an Eagle Scout.

There were times in your adventures; you may have lost your way, yet all the while, trying to live life — in the Boy Scout Way.

The road was twisted, dark and damp, but somewhere, somehow, there was always there to find, the lamp of life to guide you through life’s tricky game of chance.

Tonight is a special night; not just for this young man to have, but special for those too who’ve seen you through one passage to the next.

We held our breath and closed our eyes remembering our own lives, and how it was when we all climbed that rugged trail of life.

This once young Cubbie has now become the symbol of scouting’s greatest dreams, dreams of those who have passed on through and dreams for all young Cubbies for years to come.

Tonight I have the honor of helping to bestow upon my grandson the highest rank of all, that of an Eagle Scout. His dreams are fulfilled; his wings are spread wide, ruffled, and ready to soar to heights known only to the few who’ve heard the call through heart and soul. The eagle calls for you to soar over the mountains and the skies where all young cubbies yearn to be on this most special night for thee.

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  1. Congradulations Billy!! You are very lucky to have a gandparent that loves you for who you are. To hold your hand at a Cubbie and to hug you as an Eagle.
    I too, am an Eagle Scout Class of 80′. Just remember “Once an Eagle, Always and Eagle”.

  2. We have a scout in our Troop who is being raised by his grandparents and is very close to earning his Eagle Scout. Our entire Troop is rooting for him as he has had a much more difficult journey then most. Congratulations to Billy, his family, and members of his Troop & Pack!

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