Reflections: Engaged to be Caged

George Rowe

I am pleasantly surprised with the number of readers who have asked if I could be more regular with my Reflections article – maybe once a week. I am honored and humbled and can only suggest that I will do my best for consistency in 2013. I trust you have had an awesome Christmas and already enjoying the blessings of a New Year.

The picture accompanying this article was taken recently as my wife and I enjoyed Christmas with our children and grandchildren in Sparwood and Elkford – we have six grandchildren there. While I was enjoying some quiet time my daughter reminded me of a special project she asked me to take on a number of years ago.

I have grown back garden raspberries for many years. In the spring I would take some of the new shoots and transplant them in my daughters vegetable garden in Sparwood. They always sprouted and showed some healthy signs of producing an excellent crop of delicious fruit. However, right at the flowering stage the wild deer would always jump the fence, eat the flowers and thus destroy any hope for a successful crop. This happened on many occasions until my daughter finally had it and said, “Dad, if you are going to bring me raspberry plants then YOU have to build an enclosure to protect the plants from the deer.” Imagine the audacity of my daughter saying to me, “…YOU have to build an enclosure…” With a lot of tender love and care I bring the plants all the way from Tumbler Ridge, a fourteen hour drive, and now I have to protect them. The more I thought about the idea of an enclosure the more I thought about the fun I was about to have. My first task is to gather supplies. Our first trip was to Home Hardware where my daughter knew about 95% of the employees. We walked into the store and a smart looking employee approached us and said, “Good day Corette.” Looking at me she asked a very simple question, “..and what can I do for you sir?” Catching my daughter and the employee completely off guard I raised my decible level to about 140 and squawked so that the entire store could hear me, “Bwwwaaaaaaakkkk! Bawk! Bawk! Bawk! Bawk!” and then asked the question, “Now, what do you think I need?” “Chicken wire,” said the startled employee, “and we have lots of it at a most reasonable price.” My daughter just about hit the roof and with a red face and a trembling voice said to her employee friend, “ That’s just my Dad. He’s not feeling well and we don’t allow him out very often – we shouldn’t have allowed him out today.” My approach to the employee was funnier than I thought and I said to her, “Thank you very much. I hope I didn’t startle you. You’re prices are reasonable but I’m going to keep looking and if I can’t find a better price then I will return.” She glanced at me with a distrant look and said to Corette, “Have a good day.”

We walked out of the store and my daughter looked at me and said, “Dad, please don’t tell me that we are now going to Canadian Tire!” I simply said, “Yes we are.” Don’t you dare embarrass me again with that loud and obnoxious chicken call. If you do you are no longer my Dad but Uncle George.” I promised that I would not embarrass her but my crossed fingers were already behind my back. We arrived at Canadian Tire with my daughter feeling a little nervous about my potential behaviour but I was on cloud nine. I just couldn’t wait to approach another of her friends.

I saw him coming. Black pants, bright red shirt and a matching tie. He carried himself well and had a smile that could light up a dark room – I couldn’t wait to see that smile disappear. Imagine my daughter saying to me with a lot of emphasis, “YOU have to build an enclosure.” On his left shirt pocked was a name…..it was Dan. The conversation was casual and finally Dan looked at me and asked, still smiling, “Can I help you with something today?” I reached out to shake his hand, and to keep him from falling, I looked him straight in the eye and squawked, “Dan…..Bwwwaaaaaaaakkkk! Bawk! Bawk! Bawk! Bawk! What do you think I need?” “Chicken wire,” said the startled but still smiling employee. “We have lots of it sir and this is you’re luckey day because we just dropped the price by 10% and for you only you can walk away with a 50% savings. Just follow me sir.” Perspiration was gathering on his forehead and turning away from me he leaned against a 12 by 12 post, wiped his forehead and whispered, “I;m sure glad he didn’t ask for elephant wire.” He did the chicken dance to the laydown area and we quickly closed the deal. I took my daughter to Tim Horton’s to calm her down and plan the next step in completing my special project. While you are trying to figure out what happened next, remember that the sun is always shining!