Wednesday 22 May 2013


Last week Tornado and I were walking to the playground and he managed to spend the better part of the walk in water. That was no mean feat, because there wasn’t very much water. I suppose that when I was a dad I would have worried about him getting wet, muddy and very possible sick, but since I am a “Poppa” I worry more about if he was having fun. He was.

We are awaiting a couple of days of heavy rain in Calgary, to start sometime tonight. It rained on and off today, but not very seriously. I made sure the gutters were cleaned and our downspouts are headed away from the house. So, I am all prepared for a rainstorm and plan to spend the next couple of days carving and hopefully writing.
Things were different when I was a kid, the only thing I had to do when it rained was to put on the raincoat and rubber boots and head outside. I don’t know whether it was because I was smaller and everything seemed to be larger, or perhaps the rainstorms were more spectacular. It doesn’t really matter because it was fun when it would rain. I guess mom and dad didn’t mind us getting wet just as long as they got some quiet time.

I can still smell the rain when it first hit the pavement and that smell would change as the rain continued. There was a clean, fresh smell that had a hint of earthworm. I could never figure out why the worms would come out of the dirt and crawl onto the pavement. Pavement isn’t a friend to worms! The worms in Ontario were huge long things that were endlessly fascinating. We in Alberta have short, thin, pathetic looking worms that you would be hard pressed to skewer with a hook. The smell is the same though.

The water would flow down the side of the streets and we would find leaves or pieces of wood and race these little “boats” to the nearest storm sewer. They would often get caught on a stone or another twig on the way to the sewer, and there were rules that governed just how much help you could give to your boat. Ultimately, it didn’t matter who won, because we would race to find other “boats” and start all over again. Every now and then your buddys boat would be crushed by a giants rubber boot.
I remember that it was cool to fold the top of your rubber boot down about two inches so that the black boot would show two inches of white lining. The down side was that the puddles you could wade in were two inches shallower than your buddy could go in and that meant a soaker. Soakers were inevitable of course, but the longer you could put it off, the better. I never liked the squishy feeling of a boot full of water. You would balance on one foot, take of the boot and pour the water out. Your friend would give you a push so that you would have to put your socking foot down in the mud to balance yourself. I can remember wringing the sock out, putting it back on, sliding it into the boot and before I knew it, I would be back in the same puddle with the same soaker.

Every now and then we would find a mud puddle, and if we were lucky, it would be filled with deep, squishy claylike mud. We could pretend we were Tarzan caught in quicksand. The mud would grip your boot and only careful effort could get the boot and foot out in one piece. More often than not, we would arrive home with one boot filled with mud and have to hose off boot, socks, pants and anything else that was covered in mud. Many times I was down to my underwear and the only reason that wasn’t on the floor of the garage was modesty.

I don’t play in the rain anymore, I look out at it, drive in it and the odd time I will walk Buster in the rain. Neither of us likes that very much. If the rain does come tomorrow, I think I will put on my rain gear, rubber boots and see about floating a “boat” down to the storm sewer. Should be fun.

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