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From The Chief Editor's Desk...

Both of my kids just competed in the annual Pinewood Derby race in their Cub Scout pack (Pack 4865, Heart of America Council, Independence, MO) on January 21. This was their third Pinewood Derby (even though my daughter wasn't an official Cub Scout for her first Derby, my son's pack allowed her to enter a car in the sibling category). This meant that dad had not the customary one car to build, but two cars. But, that's been the way it has been ever since we started racing in the Pinewood Derby.

They pick out the pattern and determine the color scheme. Dad cuts the cars out on the bandsaw (I actually went out and bought one for last year's Pinewood Derby). Then, all of us sit around filing and sanding the cars smooth. After the sanding, dad adjusts the weight of the cars to as close to five ounces as possible, without going over, by drilling holes and filling the holes with lead fishing weights. That's followed by more sanding of the wood putty used to hold the fishing weights in place. Then, my wife and each child sit down at the dining room table and paint the cars. Finally, it's dad's turn again to attach the wheels. But it's never that simple, since dad also polishes the "axles" (nails) by chucking the nails into the drill press and uses progressively finer grits of sandpaper to put a mirror sheen on the axles, helping to reduce friction. Dad also uses dry graphite lubricant in the wheel hubs when applying the wheels to the cars.

For this year's car, my son wanted to create Galvatron, from the Transformers universe. Galvatron joined Optimus Prime (last year) and Bumblebee (three years ago ... there was no Pinewood Derby in 2021 in our area, due to the pandemic) in his collection of Pinewood Derby cars. My daughter wanted a "sparkly, shiny" car. This year's car joins her collection of previous Pinewood Derby cars, which include the purple sparkly car from last year, and Cruz Ramirez (of the movie Cars 3) from 2020. It's easy to see a recurring theme here in their choice of car designs.

My kids love competing in the annual Pinewood Derby. They are competitive, but not overly so. We (the parents) love them competing in the race. It teaches them sportsmanship, and that they get out of it what they put into it. So, the more work they put into it, the better they will do. They fully understand that aspect of it now, after participating in their third Pinewood Derby.

This year, my daughter tied for third place in the heats for her Cub Scout den. My son won "Cubmaster's Choice" for the design, styling and decoration of his car. They were very proud of their accomplishments, and mom and dad were too.


This month's cover celebrates Valentine's Day. The image is from Pixabay, created by Jill Wellington.


Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, prosperity ... and continued good health!

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