It’s lovely outside. I think we should walk.” Rose Jackson stood on the sidewalk halfway between the front door and the truck parked in the driveway. Andrew stopped with his hand on the door handle of the truck and turned to look at his wife.
“Seriously?” he said. “You want to spoil a beautiful sunny spring day by walking? I say we just drive with the windows open.”
“It’s not the same,” said Rose. “You can’t hear the birds and the squirrels and the neighbours’ arguments if you’re driving.”
Andrew took his hand off the door handle. “Those arguments are pretty interesting,” he said. “You have a point there.”
“Also the birds,” said Rose.
“Birds are a dime a dozen,” said Andrew. “And squirrels are annoying.” He reached out as Rose came up to him and they set out hand in hand, up the walk in the direction of Main Street. “We’re going to be late though,” Andrew added.
“Nobody will care,” said Rose. “It’s just Grant and Karen. They’re never on time for anything anyway. We’ll probably still get there before they do.”
“True enough,” said Andrew. They lapsed into silence and walked half a block or so enjoying the sounds, sights and smells of spring, which had arrived, officially a month earlier, but in actuality only two days ago. They were passing the Peterson house when Rose suddenly laughed.
“What did I tell you!” she said.
“What?” said Andrew
“Listen.” Rose stopped and stood still for a second.
Andrew stopped as well and listened intently. “Oh that,” he said. “I wonder what they’re arguing about this time?”
“Something about hiring somebody to paint their duck,” said Rose.
“Deck,” said Andrew. “I think she said deck.”
“Oh, that makes more sense,” said Rose.
They set off walking again. “We should paint our deck, shouldn’t we?” said Rose.
“We should,” said Andrew, “but we probably won’t.”
“You’re probably right,” said Rose.
“See how easy that is?” said Andrew. “There’s no need to have big fights about things you can just procrastinate over.”
“Procrastination,” said Rose. “The secret of a happy marriage.”
“Dang right,” said Andrew.
They reached the café 10 minutes later and saw Grant Toews’ pickup truck already parked out front.
“I guess we were wrong about that,” said Andrew.
“Who cares?” said Rose as they made their way inside.
Grant and Karen were waiting at the usual table, by the window.
“You’re late,” said Karen as they sat down.
“So were you, I bet,” said Rose.
Karen laughed. “Not as late as you though,” she said. A server arrived to pour them some coffee and take their breakfast orders.
“How about those Jets?” said Grant, when the server had gone.
“Yeah, really,” said Andrew. “I thought the weirdest thing about this spring was gonna be that at the end of April the temperature still wouldn’t have hit 10°, but instead, here we are at the end of April, still watching the Jets play hockey. Which seems way more weird than the temperature.”
“It’s discombobulating,” said Karen. “Especially now that it actually is warm outside. It’s like, we should be outside doing spring stuff but we can’t because we have to watch hockey.”
“I know,” said Rose. “I don’t even like hockey and I still feel like I have to watch.”
“It’s what’s known as a historic event,” said Grant. “Even people who don’t care have to watch because of that.”
“What I want to know,” said Andrew, “is if the Jets win the Stanley Cup, will the 20,000 fans watching in the street go nuts and set things on fire and overturn buses and whatnot, like they do in other cities? Or will they just call in sick to work the next day, and that’ll be it?”
“Oh they will definitely call in sick to work the next day,” said Grant. “But riot? No way. Everybody knows everybody in Winnipeg. Nobody wants to go to the 7-11 to get a Slurpee and replenish the Tylenol after a big win and have the cashier go, ‘Oh hey, wasn’t that you I saw setting a cop car on fire after the game yesterday?’ Because that’s just awkward.”
“Good point,” said Rose. “It’s hard to riot anonymously in a small town.”
“Anyway,” said Andrew. “The Jets are not going to win the Stanley Cup.”
“What makes you say that?” asked Karen.
“Superstition,” said Andrew. “If I say they’re going to win, I’ll jinx it.”
“So what you’re saying,” said Grant, “is that if you say they won’t win, then they WILL win?”
“Yup,” said Andrew.
“That’s as good a theory as any,” said Karen.
“Either way,” said Andrew, “they won’t win.”
Grant raised his coffee cup. “Here’s to Andrew,” he said, “always willing to do his part.”