WOODWARD, OKLAHOMA — They all lived in Woodward as kids.
Most of the ‘old’ men who gathered in front of the court-house on a Saturday morning were in Boy Scout Troop 251 together in the late 1960’s through 1980.
Their scout leader was a local veterinarian named Ferd ‘Doc’ Wadell.
When he arrived later that morning the former scouts all gave him a hip, hip hooray.
A guest at this first ever scout troop reunion asked Wadell, “Do you remember these guys?”
“Yeah. I remember them,” he responds. “They’ve changed a helluva lot but they are indelible in my memory.”
When ‘Doc’ retired from his vet practice his friend, Linda Meyer, promised she’d organize a reunion someday.
“Some of these guys haven’t seen each other in 45 years,” she said.
So on the morning of the annual Woodward Elks Rodeo Parade, 13 years worth of scouts trundled into ‘camp’ with memories in tow.
One former scout said his favorite memory was, “Camping out at Wolf Creek and learning how to ‘noodle’ catfish.”
Doc said, “We fought the battle of the outdoors together. Mosquitoes, and flies, and sand in your food.”
Troop 251 took a lot of fishing trips while Doc was their leader.
Wadell had a big Cadillac.
So did his assistant leader Bob Meyers.
“How many kids could you fit in the Cadillac,” someone asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Meyer. “6 or 8 each.”
Four of those fishing trips involved canoeing the Boundary Waters of Canada.
One trip in 1971 took the troop the Boy Scout World Jamboree in Japan.
Typhoon Olivia hit at the same time flooding their camp site.
Another former scout, Tim Phipps, recalls the impact Doc had on his fellow scouts.
“He meant so much to us during that period of out lives,” he said.
The city of Woodward proclaimed Saturday ‘Doc’ Wadell Day.
He and his boys rode a special float and waved to former scouts and future scouts who lined Main Street.
Forty five years changes people on the outside, but the bods that hold these men together are still young and strong on the inside.
Wadell retired to a good fishing spot on Lake Texoma several years ago.
He’s written three books.
One of them is based on his years as a scout master.