Monday, 18 February 2013

What IS that thing?

Well, it's a golden swamp monster dragon, strayed from its home swamp.


That is a long, but wonderful story.

Some years ago my best friend ever and her family invited my family to a New Year's Eve party at her home. The family group consisted then of the parents and two married sons, each with their own home on the property. The senior family's home was placed at the bottom of a hill on the concession road, across from the family sugar camp, and between the road and the house was a large wide and shallow ditch. I left the party briefly and as I was returning I took the downhill too fast and slid, slowly and irrevocably, into the ditch, ending with my car nose down, back wheels in the air.

The slide was so slow that neither the car nor I suffered any damage, but I sat there in the ditch for quite a while gathering my courage because I knew that the minute the family knew what I had done, I would be the target of a lot of laughter and that they would never, never let me live it down. And that was the case. One of the sons plucked me out of the ditch with his tractor, a lot of comments were made, I drowned my sorrows and the party ended.

Shortly thereafter, when I visited my friends' home, there was a hockey net across the bridge side nearest the ditch with a sign on it reading 'Stay out - Mary's swamp'. On another occasion, the side of the lane way was blocked with hay bales. On yet another, signs appeared on trees between our home and theirs, giving the distance to 'Mary's Swamp.' And the incident was mentioned. A lot.

Well, there had to be some response to this besides turning beet red and spluttering. At the start of the sugaring season, on a day when the snow was wet and packy, I climbed down into the ditch and built a swamp dragon out of snow  - crawling out of the ditch and heading toward the camp across the road. I coloured it with spray bottles of coloured water and it was a handsome concoction. I may have put up a sign saying 'beware of swamp monster' - I'm not sure about this. Although the family may have known I was there, they were busy and only when the left the camp was the full glory of the dragon perceived. And I was gone by then.

Over the years there have been other elaborate jokes between our families. There was a plague of ceramic garden gnomes. There was a night when our lane way was lit with ice lanterns. The best one might have been at a party for our 45th wedding anniversary when my friend tried out a recipe she had been given where, if you buried condoms in a cake pan of soil with a puck of some substance at the bottom and then watered the soil, the condoms were supposed to fill with air and poke out through the soil. It didn't work quite as planned, however, as the condoms would fill up and then lose air, droop over and then refill. To say it was funny is not really a good report of the resultant hilarity and comment.

Anyway, this brings us to our fiftieth wedding anniversary. We went in to the city to have a superb dinner with the family and as we turned into the gate on our arrival home we saw two gold painted sap pails with a 5 and a 0 on them, hanging on the maple tree at our gate. I had expected something, I must admit, and thought that our friends had been remarkably restrained.

Or I did, until I heard JG saying urgently to his brother, who had come to stay for the festivities, 'Turn on the back door lights!'. Then he called to me, in a somewhat shaken voice, 'Come and see this!'. We turned on the spotlight and there, in all its glory, was swamp monster, promoted to gold and fashioned, now, out of 50+ gold painted sap pails with a green monster head and staring eyes. It was sporting a 'No Parking' sign. It was a spectacular construction. I think it must have taken them days to put it all together. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry - friends like this make life a marvellous adventure.

Only, now it is my turn again. I do have some ideas, too.


  1. That is fabulous. What good friends you have.

  2. What a fun running gag! You really have to do some thinking and get very creative now.

  3. That is quite a creation, and quite a backstory! I look forward to hearing about your response.

  4. Those are the best kind of friends . . . can't wait to hear what you come up with.

  5. Fantastic! Certainly worth the teasing you endured, I think.