Thursday, July 09, 2009

To everything there's a season... if it stops raining!

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Editorial Page

What is a person supposed to do during all this rain we're having?

If you're a gardener and like to spend time outside in the summer, this year has so far been quite a bust in that department, eh?

We've pretty much had rain... rain... and more rain. The sun poked its head out as I wrote this column and it poured rain at the same time. Sheesh! It's not letting up.

Arks are being built. Ducks are in ecstasy. Tourists who took their vacations during the past three weeks are shaking their fists in the air and asking, "Why?"

When I was a kid and it rained, my mother took us to a used book store where we exchanged upwards of 40 to 50 comic books at a time for a new batch. My brother, sister and I got a whole variety of them. Luckily, this was one of the few things we didn't fight about since we read them all. My father always asked us to pick up some "spooky comics," which he liked to read. I liked them, too, so I was always eager to pick up copies of Tales from the Crypt, Tales of the Unexpected, and Ghost.

Every summer we'd go camping for two weeks at Mactaquac Provincial Park near Fredericton.

We'd get up at 3 a.m., get ready and then drive to the park entrance to be in line early. Reservations weren't possible, so admission to the park was on a first-come, first-served basis. We always asked for campsite number 208 and were happy to land there several times over the years.

Rainy days while you're camping can be painful. Our old tent trailer was waterproof as long as it didn't rain too much and as long as you didn't touch the canvas.

If you touched the canvas, well then it was game over and it would leak. The paper-thin mattresses would end up damp, too. Oh it was just a pleasure, I tell ya. It didn't exactly make a camper out of me. To this day, my definition of roughing it is staying in a five-star hotel room with outdated curtains.

Luckily, the campground also had great activities, so we'd end up in the recreation centre playing checkers, cards or a variety of board games. At night, there'd be bingo if it rained. Not much else to do when it got dark and you couldn't be outside due to rain.

Our campsite didn't have electricity, so unless we made friends with some kids whose parents had a fancy travel trailer with a television set, we were out of luck!

It's no secret that I like gardening as much as I like pulling out my own teeth with rusty pliers, however even I am getting sick of this rain. Sure, the view out of my front living room window of all that now-lush greenery is quite nice, but it would be nice to see the sun before the end of July rather than torrential rain bouncing off the street.

Even going to the mall offers no solace because you're just reminded that retailers are insanely impatient for the next shopping season to start, be it back-to-school, Halloween or Christmas.

I went to the mall the other day to look around and walked in through a department store that had all the school supplies out at the front entrance already for some sadistic parents to start buying before their kids have barely taken their backpacks off from this past school year.

Can you imagine being so obsessively organized that you buy your school supplies during the first week of July?

Seriously! The only thing around the school supplies that day was the sound of crickets chirping. The aisles were full of binders and paper but certainly bare of shoppers. You'd think the more seasonal stuff like outdoor games, bubble-making stuff (sorry for the technical scientific terminology) and other summertime toys would be better sellers in July rather than school supplies.

Sure, bring out the school supplies as of Aug. 1, but parents aren't buying before then unless they want their kids to throw them into a nursing home the first time they stub their toe after they turn 65.

So, while I was still reeling from seeing school supplies already on sale, I went to a gift shop to buy a card for an upcoming family birthday. I glanced over to one corner of the store where large red drapes covered a display. "Coming soon!" a sign said. Then I heard the clerks discuss how the collectible Christmas ornaments were arriving this Saturday.

Again, I ask, who buys Christmas ornaments in July? The same people who are out buying school supplies, I bet.

I was talking to a friend in Toronto about this and he said that he was in a dollar store the other day and saw a large display of black and orange supplies and decorations. You guessed it! They're already dolling themselves up for Halloween. It's enough to make a person snap a candy cane in half!

On Sunday, I was cooking up a storm and threw on a CD of Bing Crosby's greatest hits. Music by the old crooners is great and I love listening to the likes of Bing, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Little did I know, however, that the CD contained all of Bing's hits, including White Christmas. I just let it play, although looking outside at the summer rain fall on green lawns didn't exactly match up with the lyrics.

There'll be a time for back-to-school sales, Christmas and Halloween. To everything, there is a season. Now just isn't the season for those things. Enjoy summer and everything it brings. The flowers. The greenery. The smell of freshly cut grass. The sound of kids playing outside. Vacations. And hopefully... some day... the sun!

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