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Jumping in Puddles

The Danger of Not Playing in the Rain

(c) Linda Hutchison July 2017

Edith was staring across the road at their neighbour through the lounge room window.

“She’s playing in the rain again, Harold.”

“Let her be – some people like the rain. Her parents were probably English,” replied Harold calmly.

“With her dog. In the thunderstorm! It’s not natural.” Edith’s complaint became whiny.

“Edith, come away from the window. What she chooses to do in her front yard is her own business.”

Edith peered even more strongly through the lace curtain.

“She’s not even wearing a raincoat. Must be a little daft, don’t you think?” Edith turned to look at her husband, waiting for his affirmation. She was disappointed.

“Edith, it’s none of your business. If our neighbour wants to dance around with flowers in her hair, waving at the sun, or splash around in puddles with her dog in the rain, it’s entirely up to her. There is room enough in the world for both of you.”

“Hmmph,” responded Edith, looking down her nose dismissively. “You wouldn’t catch me doing that.”

“What, having fun?” Harold poked cheekily, looking down to conceal a smirk.

“She’s behaving wildly. Quite unladylike. Her sort shouldn’t live here.”

“That’s quite enough. Get back to your cross stitch and leave the neighbours alone.” Harold added sotto voce “Cross stitch for a cross patch.”

“What did you say?” Edith looked accusingly at her insufferably patient husband.

“Are there any hot cross buns left? Surely it’s morning tea time.”

Edith sighed and walked off to the kitchen, looking back at Harold as if to say, “I’ll catch you one day.”

Across the road, Blithe danced in the rain with her pug, Buggles. His dripping wet, chocolate and black brindle fur contrasted nicely with her shiny, bright red gumboots. What a great scene for a rainy day painting, she thought to herself.

As the puddles swelled with the rain, and another lightning strike lit the cloudy, dark sky, Blithe bent down to Buggles and offered him his favourite toy – a small tug rope. They were tugging against each other furiously when the thunder rolled through. Buggles hesitated for a moment and looked towards the rumble, but a tug from his mistress brought his attention back to his game. He relaxed, then tensed again, his focus on the rope. An extra strong tug saw Blithe concede, but it had been her plan all along. The diversion therapy was working well and now he was confident in storms and didn’t rush to the bedroom to hide like he used to. The storm abated and they went around to the back deck to shake off the rain. As Blithe held Buggles to her and towelled his small body dry, she was rewarded with a massively wide grin, and knew that this little adventure had been worth it. And she knew that her self-restraint in not waving to Edith across the road as Edith pressed her nose to the curtain would eventually pay off.

Later that evening, another storm rolled through. This time Blithe and Buggles played on the deck, staying dry as sheets of lighting flashed through like heavenly paparazzi, and the resulting thunder rattled the house like a giant’s footfall. Buggles finally took his rope away and retreated happily to his rug by her bed. Moments later she saw an ambulance pull up across the road. I do hope they are okay, she thought to herself. She was a little more charitable than her neighbour and understood that Edith’s attitude had been shaped by generations passed. She saw Edith wheeled out on a stretcher, with Harold walking beside her looking naturally concerned. The paramedics had bandaged Edith’s arms.

After the ambulance left, Blithe went out to Harold who was standing watching the tail lights of the ambulance disappear.

“I hope Edith is all right, Harold?”

Harold sighed deeply then turned to look at her. “Edith will be fine.”

“What happened?” Blithe asked gently.

“When the storm came, Mitzy ran under the bed as usual and started whimpering. Edith tried to pull her out to comfort her, but the lightning cracked suddenly, and Mitzy panicked and attacked her. Let sleeping, or whimpering, dogs lie, I always say.”

Blithe smiled inwardly, knowing that her playing in the rain was not only fun, but had proven its worth. She said kindly, “The hospital has a great plastic surgeon. Mum had a similar experience with her cat.”

“Tell me about it over a quick cuppa, Blithe, before I head to the hospital?”

“Sure, if you throw in one of Edith’s hot cross buns,” she smiled.


The Danger of Not Playing in the Rain: Work
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