This is a quick little story which is set at our humble home on a quaint street in our wee tidal town. We have lived here since August 2010. Shortly thereafter, due to the stress and strain of a kitchen renovation which may have but then didn’t include asbestos poisoning, I landed in the hospital. The stuff of nightmares. And, to think, we had said to each other, Dean and I, ‘let’s not start any renos until we have owned our home for at least two years.’ Ha! We lasted four months such was the atrocious state of our new-to-us home. (Every time I see the previous owner, I strangle him in my imagination).
So, our new reality found us painting our kitchen ceiling on Christmas Eve (which is also our anniversary); having had our kitchen gutted, rewired and replumbed; having re-painted and re-positioned cabinets, having had new appliances and fresh drywall, not to mention a shiny new double sink and formica counter-tops, flooring and windows. There is a lot involved in kitchen renos. Trust me! And ours had the added bonus of a psychotic break for me. Lovely.
Anyhoo, after we all recovered from that, come spring we were laughin’.
That was the year that St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday and this being a small University town, with nearly as many students as full-time residents, well, when the students decide to get out and make some noise… we all hear about it. Don’t get me wrong, we love our students. My comment here is that the day was an incredible early Spring day. It was twenty-two degrees Celsius on March 17th (~72 F). Unheard of. And, it was St. Patty’s Day. So, many folk were just OUTSIDE and havin’ a ball.
I will never forget that day because I spent the whole day out in the garden, raking, picking up sticks, splitting off lilies, vinca-vine and ferns. Just any excuse to be outside. Any Canadian can relate, I am sure. And the whole time I was out there, I could here the ruckus happening downtown. I had no desire to join in or to even see it, but, it was hilarious and just one of the many oddities about being Canadian. When Spring springs, we CELEBRATE it, baby, and we GET OUTSIDE. It was so nice, we were able to plant our gardens a month early and therefore had huge growth.
So, a few weeks later, my raised garden boxes with tall sunflowers, scarlet runners, tomatoes, kale and asparagus bed were doing very well. It was the best, warmest Spring in a loooong time.
One of the unique features of our property is that the town tennis courts are right on the edge of our back yard. Also, we are sandwiched between two parks, one with pitches. So, that means a constant stream of frisbee, soccer and tennis players. Also, students of tennis, including young kids taking tennis lessons with a hired tennis coach. So, when I am out in the back yard, gardening or hanging a load of clothes, there is almost always banter and pock-pock, pock-pock sounds going on, not to mention the highly annoying and obnoxious exertion grunt (which drives me WILD. Don’t they know we can HEAR them? What the hell people? Shut up and hit the ball.)
For a few seasons in a row, the tennis coach was this big young guy with a wild head of curly red hair: Conrad. He was very patient with his young students and consistently gave good clear instruction, over and over again followed by ‘good’, ‘better’, ‘great’, kinds of adverbs. It was a pleasure to be weeding the garden and to overhear his patient, deep voice working with his young charges. There is nothing like the sounds of children playing actively to bring a contented smile to my face.
It was this one weekday in mid-summer that I will never forget. I was bent over my garden boxes just quietly working away. I could hear the young tennis students running around on the hot court, whapping the balls around and asking for a drink about every thirty seconds, it was so hot!
Then Conrad’s voice in this slow, understated yet exasperated deep tone booms:
‘Come on kids FOCUS! It’s only Tuesday!’
Oh my god. I was silently laughing so hard I almost inhaled top soil. I looked over my right shoulder to see a few of the kids looking up at Conrad with a quizzical squint on their freckled faces.
‘Who cares if it’s Tuesday?? We’re playin‘ here.’ they seemed to be thinking.
Exactly, I thought.
(Thanks to Google images for the picture.)