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From the Publisher’s Desk – Stop avoiding life’s mud puddles

By Keith Whitson

One of my favorite poets wrote “The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.”

E.E. Cummings always fascinated me with his unconventional way of writing poetry. He didn’t use capital letters where they should be, didn’t rhyme the lines as I was taught, yet painted marvelous pictures of life through words.

It reminds me a lot of children and their simplistic way of looking at life and finding joys in the smallest things. One of those things is rain and mud.

I was reminded of this recently when attending the Vacation Bible School picnic for Erwin Presbyterian Church. The event was held last Thursday evening at Fishery Park.

Adults were to arrive at 6 p.m. and contribute a food dish to the main course of hamburgers and hot dogs. With the threat of rain looking greater, I heard the picnic had been moved to the church fellowship hall.

I arrived with my mom and began getting our dishes out to take inside when the storm started. We both had umbrellas up and a dish in hand when the rain and the wind became overpowering. All we could do was stand in place and be battered by wind and rain gusts from the side. We were fighting with the gusts to keep the umbrellas from flipping inside out.

We got word that the picnic had not moved but was still going to be at the park since everything was already set up under a pavilion.

I got the dishes back in the car and mom as well. I proceeded to put down one umbrella and get to the driver’s side to hop in and take the other one down. It was stubborn, of course. By now I was soaked, especially in front, and my tennis shoes and socks were soggy.

Driving was near impossible and visibility very limited. Heavy rain, wind and some hail pounded us on the way. We finally arrived to face another soaking when we got out of the car, dishes in hand, umbrellas up and had to walk through a grassy soaked area to the pavilion.

That grassy area was standing in water and some areas flowing with a small stream. I tried to hop to drier spots but there were none. The floor underneath the pavilion was protected from the downpour but had about a half inch of water standing on it. I analyzed that maybe I had a few stitches of clothing left that were still dry and felt now they would remain so.

It was then that I was feeling water hitting the back of my legs. What could be leaking now?. I looked around to find the youngsters jumping up and down in the puddles, creating the splashes. I quickly dashed to a farther spot and tried to shelter myself in among a group of adults for protection.

Maybe you’ve heard the line, “It doesn’t matter if I can run faster than the bear as long as I can outrun you.” I am ashamed to say that my first instinct is to protect myself.

As the evening went on, I noticed the youngsters were having the best time of all. They were already soaked, so why stop there? They had races in the rain, through water logged grass. They fell down and laughed, slid and got muddy. It would just wash off.

For a brief moment, I was envious and wanted to join in. I thought about how cautious I had been to try and stay dry and yet was still wet.

The rain eventually stopped and, after eating, the youngsters proceeded on to the pool for added water fun. I drove home, trying to defrost my windows most of the way. I got out of my wet clothes and shoes to find shriveled toes. I checked and we had gotten two inches of rain in the rain gauge.

I am very thankful for the rain. The plants appreciated the rain. The children enjoyed the rain, maybe even more so than if it had been dry.

I got to thinking about the night and the fun the youngsters had. I think we give up a lot when we become serious adults We get upset over the rainfalls in life and forget to enjoy the mud puddles. We need to quit trying to hop over them and just jump into the middle and splash around. It will all wash out eventually. Experience every aspect to the fullest that life brings our way.

Next time, I’ll kick off my shoes and run wildly through the mud.