The Jacksons – for Jun. 24, 2010

“Forty days and 40 nights,” said Andrew Jackson. “You think maybe we should have built an ark?”

He peered out of the window at the rain pounding down onto the yard outside. Water poured from the eavestroughs of the house and the resulting rivers flowed across the lawn and then along the edge of the gravel and into the ditch.

From there it would eventually find its way along further ditches and streams to the river which would carry it to the big lake. Given enough time some of it might find its way to Hudson’s Bay and from there, eventually, to the ocean. Truthfully, Andrew would have been happy to see most of it disappear to the ocean, and sooner rather than later.

“Maybe we should,” said Rose. “Although I suppose we wouldn’t be taking two of each kind of animal would we? More like 50 of one and 100 of the other.”

“And two donkeys and two horses and a dog,” added Andrew.

“Imagine how far from home we’d be if our ark came to rest on a mountain,” said Rose.

Andrew laughed. “I’m not sure which would be worse,” he said. “Spending 40 days and nights on an ark or ending up on a mountain in Alberta.”

Rose stared out of the window for a second. “Then again, we might end up on Riding Mountain,” she said.

“Here’s hoping,” said Andrew. “At least that’s a short walk down.” He turned away from the window and walked over to the table to sit down. “Is there still coffee in the pot?” he wanted to know.

Rose shook her head. “You want me to make some more?”

“Sure, why not?” Andrew picked up the newspaper. “There’s no point going outside.”

“Unless you’re a duck,” said Rose.

“Who knows what ducks like,” said Andrew. “Maybe they hate it when it rains. Maybe they’re swimming around thinking ‘enough already with the water, all the time our feet are cold and wet and now it’s falling on our heads.’ Why can’t it just be sunny?”

Rose put the old aluminum kettle on the stove and turned on the element. “I’ve watched ducks in the rain a few times,” she said. “I don’t think they think much at all. If they do it’s just, ‘hey there’s some food, let me get that before someone else does.’”

Andrew scanned the paper. “You know it’s a slow day when our own conversation turns to the conversational habits of ducks,” he said.

“What’s new in the paper?” asked Rose, joining Andrew at the table.

“Apparently there’s a woman in the Philippines who claims to be 157 years old,” said Andrew.

“No kidding! Does she have proof?”

“Not much apparently,” said Andrew. “Her 108-year-old daughter vouches for her though.”

“That reminds me of that woman in France who sold her multimillion-dollar apartment when she was 85 years old to a 50-year-old couple who were going to move in when she died, and then she proceeded to live to 123. Outlived the other couple by almost 10 years.”

“What a great scam that was,” said Andrew. “I’m sure she planned that all the way.” He turned back to the paper. “And here’s an article about self-help books,” he continued. “The writer claims he took a book out of the library that was supposed to help him make better decisions but he never got around to reading it and then he had to pay a $30 overdue fine when he brought it back.”

Rose laughed. “What’s that old saying? God helps those who help themselves?”

“That’s right,” said Andrew. “Speaking of helping yourself, there’s a story here about a homeowner who says someone keeps stealing his ‘No Trespassing’ signs.”

“You’d think he’d learn,” said Rose, “and put up ‘No Stealing’ signs next to his ‘No Trespassing’ signs.”

Andrew looked up. “You’re so smart,” he said. “I would never have thought of that.”

“That’s why I’m the boss,” said Rose. She looked over at the kettle on the stove. “The water’s boiling,” she said.

“So it is,” said Andrew.

“One of us should make some coffee,” said Rose.

“That’s very true,” said Andrew. “Perhaps one of us will.”

“Most likely,” said Rose. “Eventually.” “The water’s not going anywhere,” said


“Actually it’s going up in steam,” said

Rose, “which makes it more humid, which means it’ll rain some more.”

Andrew got up. “That’s the last thing we need,” he said. “I’ll make the coffee and get the kettle off the element.”

“I thought you would,” said Rose. “That’s why I’m the boss.”

Catch Rollin Penner and the Travelling Medicine Show in concert in Gretna on Saturday July 17.

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