Before and After

Dee rode off with her little friend to the other end of the paddock and we turned to walk back toward the barns. After a while, walking in silence, we both suddenly heard splashing and noisy chatter from up the hill.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Over there,” said Clive. “At the pond.”

We both took off running, and sure enough there were Ell and Jay, working away in the pond.

“What are they doing?” I asked.

“Reed control. They have to pull out the bullrushes and cattails to keep them from taking over.”

We sat on the grass and watched for a while. Ell was in front, Jay at the rear. They were reaching over the edge of the canoe, lugging and tugging and mugging to get the silly reeds to give up their squishy hold on the pond-bottom. And there, of course, snugged right in with the two men, were the now obligatory KerDoodles. I’m not sure if they were helping, but they were certainly having a good time.

As we watched them all work I have to say I noticed the canoe wobbling rather a lot – this way and that, up and down, side to side, wobble-wobble-wobble... It seemed pretty clear to me that some of those reeds just didn’t want to let go of their nice little perch in the pond, but still the men plugged away, tugged away, doing everything they could to get them out.

They worked their way along the edge of the reeds, back and forth, taking one at a time, piling a few up in the boat, then rowing them all over to the bank. They worked hard and laughed hard until finally they came across a particularly stubborn little fellow, holding on to its place in the world with all the might it possessed. Ell grabbed it with both hands and pulled. He pulled and he tugged, and he wrestled and he wrangled, but still that hard-headed little reed said no. And the boat wobbled terribly! Of course, Jay leaned back to try to counteract all that wobbling, but when Ell gave one final, furious, body-clenching tug to rip the thing from its roots it was more than the narrow little boat could bear. Suddenly, in an apoplectic fit of balancing and counterbalancing the poor, confused little craft could take it no more. Over she went, spilling everyone on board into the watery shallows.

Well, suffice it to say that only the KerDoodles were laughing. KerDoodles, so Clive tells me, love to get wet. They like their bath time and shower time – they even like to splash around in the kitchen sink when no one is looking! Hey, I can’t count the number of times I’ve found water on the kitchen counters that I just couldn’t explain.

Ell and Jay fished themselves out of the pond, lay the boat on the bank, and headed off to their homes to dry off. Clive and I watched all this from a safe distance. I watched the KerDoodles, laughing and playing with each other, alone now, and I confess that I couldn’t help but curl my lips a little bit too.

Then I looked up into the sky. The clouds seemed a little bit thicker now than they had before. They looked heavy with moisture, and I remembered what Clive had said about the weather being about to change. I hugged myself and snugged my coat in more tightly, as if to get ready for something really horrible.

Perhaps it wouldn’t change quite that fast, but I felt like I should be ready.

* * *

Follow along to learn more about the KerDoodles, and if you like, contact me to find out if you’ve got a KerDoodle of your own.

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Author: James McDonall

I believe in laughing, especially at yourself, and as often as possible. I believe in "live and let live". I believe that communication is the foundation of all our solutions. I believe that listening is more important than speaking, and that speaking should always serve the cause of listening.

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