As kids growing up, we always used to say, “If March came in like a Lion, it would go out like a Lamb”. But it’s always been my experience, that March came in like a Lion, and stayed that way. I mean, come on, the Earth is waking up from a three-month nap, and Mother Nature isn’t much of a morning person. She’s cranky and in definite need of a cuppa joe.
March storms can be fun or they can be scary. Either way, where there are storms, there is rain… and where there is rain, there is MUD! Sunnyside had plenty of mud. It just so happens on one fine March morning after a long night of storms, Cookie, Bonnie and the gang had the great paper boat regatta at the ditch. Another battle between the Sullivan gang and the Davis boys.
We find the Sullivan’s huddled together down by the ditch discussing strategy as Rodney runs up to join them carrying Grandpa’s newsprint from last evening. “Ok”, Bonnie begins, as she starts to flatten out the pages, preparing them for the proper folding of a boat fit for a regatta. Determinedly she looks at each of her siblings, “We lost the snowball fight, but we ain’t gonna lose this race”. It’s a matter of principle now for this six-year-old girl, those boys are going down!
“Hey, no fair!”, Cookie cries, as Mikey and Jean stroll up with their paper boat. “No one said you could glue popsicle sticks on the boat.”
“Hey, are those sails?” Colleen demanded, pointing to what appeared to be sails made from remnants of an old handkerchief.
“Well, no one said we kain’t”, taunted Mikey. Ooh that one is a booger, fumed Bonnie. Narrowing her eyes at the cheater, she was going to have to adjust her strategy a little bit. Bonnie isn’t worried though, she knows the Sullivan’s have an advantage with their boat. First, they used the entire newspaper and it’s thick, so it’ll take a while before it will sink. And, it’s small and sleek, where Mikey’s boat is top heavy. Yep, we’re gonna win this one alright, she mused.
Colleen steps up to the edge of the ditch to call off the start of the race while Bonnie and Mikey both hover their boats at the starting-off point. She calls out, “On your march! Get stuck! Go!”
Squeals, yells, screams, and hoots rang out as the children chased the boats down the length of the ditch watching the boats bob, weave, twist and turn in the current of the rain water dragging them through debris of roots, twigs, and someone’s lost boot. For a brief moment, breaths are held, as Bonnie’s boat gets trapped inside an old tire. However, the boat is dislodged luckily with a surge of water and the boat remains in the race.
As predicted, Mikey’s boat falls over and sinks once it hits rougher water and Bonnie’s boat floats over like a light feather. The Sullivan’s jumped and shouted as Bonnie is declared the winner! What an excellent day! Until…. Splat!
An excellent day has now turned into something ugly as mud slithers down the back of her neck and into her shirt. Mikey has lobbed a mudball at her. Well, let’s just say ten minutes later when the Sullivan clan hobbled home covered in March mud, Ann was none too pleased. Baths for everyone…outside… in the big wash tub.
Later, on a blanket in the backyard, in fresh clothes, the gang sits eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Rodney still has a little mud just under his ear, but that’s ok, he’s more interested in the what Grandpa is doing. Grandpa has just brought in the new peeps for the year, (we will know them as chicks) and has penned them up in the wire pen. There will be plenty of eggs to gather and chickens to eat this year once they grow.
Bonnie and Cookie lay back to soak in the sun and look for shapes in the clouds floating across the sky. The sharp smell of rain with the fresh smell of angelica is in the air, so typical of a stormy March. The sky and fluffy clouds show no signs of the sleeping lion that came the night before. The crisp citrusy fragrance from the kitchen emerges from the canning porch along with the violets in the windows and the jasmine growing on the fence. Sweet reminders that March does eventually calm down. The musky scents of cedar, sandalwood and waking earth, soft as a lamb’s ear, wraps them in the comfort of the warm season to come.
Suddenly, Bonnie and Cookie are run over by a stampede of peeps. They shoot up from the blanket. Looking around, oh no, Rodney has turned over the pen, while trying to pet them…again.
“We better help him round them up”, sighed Bonnie. Every time, he never learns.