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The Jacksons – for Jun. 9, 2011

here’s my water bottle?” Jennifer Jackson peered into the open refrigerator. “Did you drink my water Dad?”

Andrew looked up from his plate of food and snorted. “The only thing I drink from a bottle is Johnny Walker,” he said and turned his attention back to his dinner.

“Oh, there it is.” Jennifer reached into the fridge and pulled out a bottle, half full of water, which she carried to the table. She set the bottle down and then sat down herself. Brady, who was sitting next to her reached out, picked up the bottle, and studied it closely.

“Evian, eh? That’s French water. How ironic.”

Jennifer gave him a quizzical look. “What do you mean?” she said.

Brady popped a chunk of steak into his mouth and chewed and swallowed it before he spoke.

“Where to begin?” he said. “France is in the middle of the worst drought they’ve seen in 50 years, and yet we have French bottled water on our table.” He paused. “But that’s just half the story,” he continued. “Because we have so much water all around, we don’t know what to do with it. Everything’s under water already and still it keeps on raining.” He set the bottle down on the table. “So there you have it. Water from France on a table in Manitoba. If that’s not ironic I don’t know what is.”

There was a moment of silence as the rest of the family gave that some thought.

“Well, there’s that extra revenue stream we’ve been looking for,” said Randy who was sitting across from Brady and Jennifer. “We’ll ship rainwater to France. When you’re done with that bottle Jenn, just run out to the ditch and fill it back up and then we’ll put it up for sale on eBay.”

“You’ll have to advertise it in French or it’ll probably get snapped up by some rancher in Texas,” said Jackie, who sat next to Randy. “I hear it’s pretty dry down there too.”

“Come to think of it,” said Randy, “why sell it in bottles? Why not go all out and buy a fleet of water bombers and just sell rain. Scoop it out of Lake Manitoba and go dump it on France. Or Texas for that matter.” He paused. “I wonder how much people would pay for rain?”

“The first problem with that plan,” said Andrew, “though certainly not the last, is that water bombers don’t drop water in the form of rain. They drop it in the form of a bomb. Which is why they’re called water bombers.”

“We could put crop duster attachments on the water bombers,” said Jennifer, joining in the spirit of things. “Then we could sell rain by the inch. You could buy, like, half an inch for your whole farm, or you could get, like, an inch on your cropland and a half-inch on your pasture and just a sprinkle on your yard to keep the dust down.”

“I don’t know about that idea,” said Amanda who was sitting next to Brady. “Wouldn’t the French just decide to save money by dumping their Evian water on their land rather than flying our water across the ocean?”

“Heck no,” said Brady. “There’s no nutrients in bottled water. Lake Manitoba water on the other hand is loaded with phosphorus and nitrogen and antibiotics and all kinds of good stuff.”

“It’s value added,” said Randy. “You could charge extra because people would be getting fertilizer right in their rain.”

“Plus we could charge the Manitoba government for lowering the level of Lake Manitoba,” said Brady. “C’mon Dad, you have to admit it’s a pretty good plan. There’s no way the credit union wouldn’t finance that. Especially if you tell them your grandmother was a Wiebe.”

Andrew raised an eyebrow. “The truth is I wasn’t interested till you mentioned charging the government,” he said, “but now you can count me in. Any business plan that calls for charging the government sounds good to me. My grandmother wasn’t a Wiebe though,” he added.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t say she was,” said Rose from her seat across the table. “I have to admit I wasn’t keen on this plan either until you kids mentioned the credit union, but any plan that calls for charging the government and scamming the credit union, you can count me in on.”

“I suggest we name our new enterprise after the Greek god of rain,” said Randy. He raised his glass. “Here’s to the Zeus Water Corporation,” he said.

“I vote we call it the Assylus Water Corporation,” said Jackie.

“Why would we do that?” asked Randy. “Who’s Assylus?”

“The Greek god of pretentiousness and stupidity,” said Jackie.

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