Of Knobby Knees and Olden Days

I’m feeling a bit connected to the ancient ones this morning.  Growing up in Rock Point, Arizona on the Navajo reservation, I would spend my weekends and summers exploring nooks and crannies on the mesas.  As we played in and amongst the canyons we would come across remnants of Anasazi ruins, pottery shards and pieces of arrow points, so we were aware of the ancient history of our valley.  As I then went away to southern Colorado to high school near Mesa Verde, my girlfriend (now wife!) Mary McAfee lived on a farm homesteaded by her family in 1916.  Over the years pinto bean & wheat plowing had turned up evidence of a ruin on top a high field with 360 degree views of mountain vistas – Mesa Verde, the LaPlatas, the Blues and Sleeping Ute.  It was initially called the Knobby Knee Complex, due to discoveries of beautiful whole pottery upon which were painted Kokopelli figures with rather pronounced knees.  This was catalogued carefully when we were in high school by research teams from UC Boulder.  Now that Mary’s brother is retired and living on the family land, some additional research has turned up sherds, obsidian points and flakes in a new dig which is now called McAfee House that indicate there exists another timeframe of residence long before the Knobby Knee one that had been had dug in the ‘70’s. The researchers are all stoked as this is a rare indication that people were in the Four Corners area many, many years earlier than the 800-1000 year old Mesa Verde Anasazis, now dating even back to the Archaic period, perhaps 8,000 BC.   It’s pretty cool to be connected by the land through the ages in this way.  But maybe that’s why my own ancient, archaic, knobby looking knees creak the way they do on a humid Labor Day weekend.  Or, it could just be arthritic residual from our backpacking adventure in Sycamore Canyon last week.  The heck with creaky knees – where and when are we going on an outing next?  Fort Tuthill for family camp on the 20th? – I’m there!  I guess I’m not that ancient – I’m actually still really not too far removed from that kid exploring mesas and canyons way back in the 60’s.

Speaking of Fort Tuthill, I hope that the majority of you are planning your calendars around the 20-22nd of September.  Annually we have one outing where we invite the entire troop family to attend.  Families are encouraged to bring their tents, campers, motor homes – whatever your type of camping, and come for the entire weekend, the day on Saturday, or whatever your schedule permits.  We will be sleeping Friday night and Saturday night at the Fort Tuthill campground just south of Flagstaff, and will have activities planned throughout the day on Saturday.  We traditionally have a potluck meal on Saturday night, where everyone shares a side dish and you bring your own entrees to grill.  And the other meals are an opportunity for your scouts to demonstrate for you what they have learned – have them help you menu-plan and shop for the two breakfasts and lunch, and have them cook the meals as well!  Stay tuned for the activity agenda, but archery, hiking, a war-time museum, basketball, the troop dinner, a campfire, and other opportunities await!

For those of you calendar watching, here is a quick review of the next couple of weeks.  Tomorrow is PLC at 6PM, our troop meeting and a parent/committee meeting at 7PM at Blessed Sacrament.  We will have an adult leader meeting at 7PM on September 9th at Scottsdale Worship Center at 65th Street and Cactus.  Please join the Turners for a fall troop family get-together and kickoff dessert party at their home on September 13th (7-10PM) – plan on bringing your favorite dessert and spend time getting to further know your extended troop family in advance of the family outing.

Now that we’re all back to school and unofficially out of summer with Labor Day in our rear view mirror, let’s all get back into our regular Tuesday night routine at Blessed Sacrament with our fellow T648 scouts.  See you at the troop meeting!

Mr. Cole