Saturday, 4 March 2017


I Should Know Better

Our two tabbies do not embrace Edmonton’s winter cold. When they insist on going outside, I open the back door. The rush of freezing air furrows their muzzles and makes their front legs and tails twitch. The noise they make always sounds like ‘No!’ They then investigate the weather outside the front door on the off chance that conditions will be more to their liking; I know better.

To my eyes, signs of spring had sprouted all around. February had been unseasonably mild. Ann and I began discussing her plans for the garden. I shoveled what little snow was left onto the flowerbeds. I thought maybe it might be time for repeated plays of ‘Fishin’ in the Dark’ by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, my personal celebration anthem of the new season. Up the street our outdoor hockey rink had regressed into a grassy slough. The rink manager figured our volunteer work was done, what with the insane temperatures and the sun climbing ever hotter and higher in the sky each passing day.

My Tuesday Beer Club meets during the fall and winter, the dark months. Last week talk turned to winding things down until late next September. Nobody wants to sit in a dingy pub eating moderately adequate food on a long summer’s evening. There are more interesting and productive activities. We agreed to perhaps regroup for an Edmonton Prospects baseball game and, anyway, one of us was bound to throw a backyard shindig.

Last night Ann and I went to see Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, roots music from Texas and Tennessee, hot places. We exited the auditorium which is situated amid a morass of University of Alberta buildings, concrete all around and not a speck of snow in sight. Our coats were only half done up. Ann wondered, ‘How long ago did we get the tickets? It seemed as if March would never get here.’ We chatted about next week, the Blackie and the Rodeo Kings show downtown, those tickets too purchased in the dead of winter, and then, wow, time to set the clocks ahead. And, gee, I really had intended to repaint the laundry room in January, next winter for sure, honest. Hey, at least we’d managed to clean out and reorganize the storeroom beneath the basement stairs.

We got home, had a beer and talked about the concert. We could imagine Lovett and Hiatt in our kitchen, their banter and patter were as good as their songs. We went to bed. Overnight the temperature dropped but not far enough to reach that mixed blessing of it being too cold to snow. We awoke to this winter’s largest accumulation of snow to date. The coffee had run through the maker. We were listening to the Grateful Dead-centric Saturday morning show on Alberta’s public radio station. I stared out the dining room window. I judged almost a foot of powder to plow and shovel. I swore. Ann said, ‘I know.’

The cats wanted out. The three of us went door to door. This time I was all in because, you know, it was possible that spring wasn’t just around the corner but on the other side of the house. I had my hopes up; I should’ve known better.

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