Yesterday, as with all Saturdays, I had a long list of chores to do. One of them was corralling the raspberry plants, which were rapidly taking over our back patio. I had pounded in stakes early in the spring, long before the raspberry plants started sprouting, but the raspberry plants had long since assimilated and surpassed the stakes.
While the row of raspberry plants ran along the patio edge, the opposite side faces a fence, with a gap of perhaps two feet between them. That meant that if I planned to pick raspberries from the fence-facing side, I would need to squeeze between the mass of raspberry bushes and the fence, carrying twine with me to hem the mass of shoots in.
Ash was being a "big helper" to Daddy. As Daddy was entangled deep in raspberry bushes, she had twice been directed inside and given explicit directions on where to find scissors, down to the specific placemat on the kitchen table where they could be found. The scissors had somehow developed a cloak of invisibility, however, which resulted in Daddy finding himself in possession of children scissors, which he wielded in his gloved hands with less than his usual natural dexterity.
Regardless, with that chore accomplished, Ash was in need of a second task. Daddy, in a moment of insanity, presented Ash with a hose. "Water the raspberry bushes while I'm trapped between the thorn-covered stalks and the fence," he directed. "I've turned the hose on full power to allow for the most amount of water to be emitted as possible. I know you have a history of watering everything within a 30 foot radius, green or not, but I'm sure you'll demonstrate pinpoint accuracy this time."
With that, I tied the twine to the first stake, pushed aside the first mass of raspberry stalks, and took a step into the narrow gap.
The twine was instantly wrapped around thirty raspberry stalks, myself, and a startled rabbit. What little space hadn't been taken by raspberry plants was filled with similarly thorn-covered weeds who had taken advantage of their hiding place to grow to ominous sizes. Perhaps seeing the tangle of twine as competition, spiders converged from all directions to fight off the over-sized intruder.
I desperately wielded the tiny scissors in an attempt to free myself, but they promptly dropped from my clumsy gloved hands and disappeared into the depths of the raspberry bushes. "Ahh!" I said, calmly assessing the situation. To retrieve the scissors would require shoving my face and hands deep into a dark, dense mass of thorny raspberry stalks guarded by spiders. "Ahh!"
My mild exclamations drew Ash's attention. "What's that, Daddy?" she shouted, charging towards me. "Why are you shouting? What are those words you're saying?" The hose in her hand swung wildly, spraying raspberry plants, Daddy, the fence, the house, and the compost pile with equal abandon.
"Look out!" Daddy shouted. "You're getting Daddy wet!"
The thunder of hundreds of spider feet taking cover from the deluge by crawling up Daddy's pant legs must have drowned out Daddy's statement. "What? What?" Ash answered. She scrambled closer in an attempt to see what was happening. Water hosed Daddy down from face to shoes. Spiders scrambled higher to escape the rising tide.
"Ahh! Daddy! Water! Stop!" I clearly articulated. My careful explanation of the problem and proposed solution was lost to her three-year-old intellect, but she clearly understood at least two of the words.
In a burst of herculean strength, I tore free from thorns, twine, and spiderwebs. A moment later I gained the patio, panting heavily. A rabbit bounded into the weeds. Spiders retreated to their lairs. Ash looked me over.
I held out my hand for the hose. "Yes, Daddy is," I said. "My turn to water."