Saturday, January 29, 2011

Past Deadline: Building Wooden Badgers

Wow...I think this posting has the most links I have ever included!

I have taken some Good-Natured Ribbing™ about my Family Guy column from a couple of weeks ago. Apparently there are some fine, upstanding, respectable, likeable people on this planet who really like Family Guy.

That’s cool, just as long as I don’t have to be one of them. One of the people watching it, I mean. Y’all know I’m fine, upstanding, respectable and likeable.


Anyway, during this Good-Natured Ribbing™ (complete with little winky-faced emoticons whenever it was done online), I felt compelled to return fire by using a series of Monty Python quotes. Immediately I was labelled as being able to laugh only at “deathly stale British attempts at ‘humour.’”

“Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time,” I said.

All this is a very elaborate segue into a story about a quest for shrubbery. (Note to readers: if you are not familiar with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, then this column will be even less funny than usual.) (Winky face.)

I volunteer with the Friends of Murphys Point Park (a fine, upstanding, respectable, likeable organization, much like myself). We are about to run our winter session of Super Kids In Parks, which is an outdoor learning program for children ages 7 to 10. One of the activities will be shelter building and for that we need, well, shrubbery.

It seems ironic that when you’re doing a program at a provincial park, you would need to go on a quest for shrubbery. I mean, the place is loaded with trees and brush and deadfall. It’s just like how when you camp at a provincial park, though, you’re not allowed to collect any kindling or wood from around your campsite to build a fire.

And why the heck not? Well, if everyone who visits a park did that, there wouldn’t be much left. And there has to be lots left because there are oodles (that’s a highly technical term for “many”) of critters who live in the park that need the various forms of shrubbery, dead or alive, for shelter or food. Besides, the dead stuff decomposes and enriches the soil, which leads to more growth and circle of life and etc.

So, if we are going to make shelters from shrubbery (“one that looks nice...and not too expensive”), then we have to import it. At least the volunteer and I who undertook this quest did not have to contend with the Knights of Ni.

And where would we find this shrubbery? Would we have to harass old crones and yell “Ni” at will? Would we be lucky enough to encounter “Roger the Shrubber” on our quest? And what is the average wing speed velocity of an unladen swallow anyway? (I warned you this column would be moronic if you don’t know the movie.)

So many questions. Fortunately, though, we had the annual curbside Christmas tree pickup in town on our side. This is what I do in my spare time. I lurk around town in the dark with my friend who has a truck and nab old, dead Christmas trees for a Good Cause™. (Not only does it conform to park regulations, but it will be educational and it’s a recycling program of sorts, too!)

The town staff, I must say, are extraordinarily efficient when it comes to collecting the trees. By the time we got mobilized for our quest (complete with coconuts we could bang together to make the sound of horse hooves) on day two of pickup week, they had already retrieved and chipped most of the trees.

Fortunately, the town was very considerate of our plight, and they piled a spare few for us to retrieve. We did not have to say “Ni!” to them even once! It would be ironic, though, if there were someone named Roger on staff.

Once we are finished with the shelters and the Christmas trees, then we have to remove them from the park because, well, they weren’t found there in the first place.


Maybe it would be easier to build a large wooden rabbit or badger out of them and storm a castle instead. “Run away! Run away!”
Published in The Perth Courier, Jan. 20/11

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