Spring always ‘hatches’ memories of yesterday

You never really know how much poop a dog puts out until the snow melts.
And when it comes time to clean up, not even my vigorous, dive-into-anything grandchildren want to make that extra five bucks cleaning up dog poop.
It seems they’d rather have a week’s worth of extra household chores added to their list (without remuneration), or be made to eat a plate of vegetables they detest, than to spend time with a shovel and plastic bag scooping up the wet, soggy, smelly droppings of the canine.
Go figure.
The snow is all but gone—at least for today. And despite the jokers posting cartoons on Facebook of “Canadian Spring” that shows a guy in a T-shirt on Monday and encased in a snowsuit by Wednesday, I am clearing my slate for the upcoming weekend, which I predict to be the crack that sends Old Man Winter packing his bag of chills.
With each successive day where temperatures hover around the melting point, I think about my childhood—like the days of black rubber boots with the red stripe, called “pig boots,” used in robust playing fields called puddles.
The waters of Frog Creek would start low in the spring and then rise with May showers. In those days, I wanted to be a hundred things when I grew up, one of which was a biologist (come to think of it, I still want to be 100 things).
I would venture out along the bending and withered creek in search of treasures. I’d plunk along in my pig boots picking up tidbit souvenirs uncovered by spring—bird feathers, clam shells, and amputated crayfish pinchers (leftovers from the seagull’s meal).
The pinchers were beautiful to me; nature’s pencil crayons of deep green or fire red, small and fat, and long and sharp that, to a country kid, were a collector’s item.
I stored all these marvels together in an old shoebox under my bed, where I’d forget about the collection for a month or two.
Needless to say, the fermented stench of rotting crayfish parts, clam shells, and the like left my bedroom smelling pretty bad when I finally lifted the lid.
Thawing gravel roads gave way to delightful eruptions of mud that sucked in the handles of broken hockey sticks we had that made great tools for exploring these mucky holes.
We shoved them down as far as they would go—to the other side of the world (or so we believed).
But my favourite memory of spring when I was a child had nothing to do with pig boots, puddles, crayfish, or mud. It came each year in a cardboard crate, for which I waited—with all the patience a kid could muster—for my grandmother to bring home.
The contents meant business to my grandmother, but she knew how much it meant for the “littles” in her life to raise the lid.
And when we did . . . well, there was nothing that smacked of spring like a sea of warm, yellow, soft-smelling, and noisy baby chicks.

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