“Oh no, elephants!”

I was out with Scout earlier this week, tramping the neighbourhood streets, enjoying the nonappearance of spring, and laughing at the squirrels laughing at us. We came across (another) patch of ice, frozen snowmelt, a perfect mini-hockey rink spread over the sidewalk, and another opportunity for me to reenact and explain to Scout how Iginla and Crosby combined to score the gold medal winning goal at the 2010 Olympics. Given the number of icy patches out there, various hockey moves happen quite a bit. To mix things up, I’ll sometimes charge the net, and Scout also appreciates my ability to score on the wraparound. I’ll admit that Scout’s stick handling is the best…

Wednesday, no spring

The picture of sporting excellence I’ve painted in your mind is, obviously, quite something to see, so now it’s going to hurt me (and you) to come clean, tell the truth. Ready?

We came across (another) patch of ice, and I muttered to Scout “Oh no, elephants!” She did what she always does when she has no idea what I’m going on about, wagged her tail and looked expectantly at my coat pocket that has the extra kibble. She’s a well fed dog.

Scout, lots of spring!

“Oh, no, elephants!What are you going on about, PlaidCamper?

Good question. Let’s take a time travel trip, back to the distant, distant past, to an era when young PlaidCampers roamed the earth, wearing NHS spectacles and terrorizing the neighbourhood when playing out on bikes for hours at a time.

We would build ramps so we could perform death defying leaps across canyons filled with (toy) trucks, pedalling furiously to gather up enough speed so when we hit the ramp it would fall apart before any chance of lift off. Looking back, it’s strange none of that group of friends and family ever became engineers or involved in construction projects.

Anyway, back to the elephants. I think we came to the conclusion that jumping over toys wasn’t sufficiently dangerous, that we somehow lacked motivation, the necessary element of danger. The solution? We didn’t need to leap over toys, what was needed was for the smallest of us to lie down in the canyon. It was at this point someone said “element of danger” and it became, because we were young and silly, the elephant of danger, a kind of shorthand for when we were doing things we shouldn’t. Not that that ever happened. Riding down Langley Hill, a steep, busy and pot holed road, a speeding stream of (poorly) self maintained bikes, wobbling madly in an attempt to keep up with the fastest kid, the guy with a speedometer, shouting out “32mph!” No elephant of danger there. How about climbing up onto the garage roof, leaping from garage to garage, knowing the construction was little more than balsa wood and tar paper? Yup, one of us fell through the roof, stuck at the waist and shouting for help to get free. It’s hard to help when you’re practically peeing yourself laughing, and looking around hoping there were no adults ready to give us what for.

Tall can, tall tales (The truth? This one is excellent – you can believe that…)

Yes, the elephant of danger. There are other stories, but if I told them, I’m quite certain there’d be a knock on the door, and the long arm of the law would finally catch up. There are untold reasons behind why I keep moving on…

Back to the present day. I’d forgotten all about the elephants of danger until confronted by the ice sheet earlier this week. Did I really reenact the Iginla to Crosby Olympic golden goal? The truth? The long forgotten elephants phrase popped into my head as I flailed wildly, skating and slipping to reach the other side and the safety of drier pavement, as if being chased by the Hanson brothers. Less Olympian, and more Slap Shot. It’s probably the glasses…

Yesterday, signs of spring?

Yes, that’s why the squirrels were laughing. As for spring and safer sidewalks, rumour and the Weather Network has it that we are due a warm, sunny and dry spell the next few days, which is great news, as I’m not as young as I was, and certainly far more cautious around elephants.

Thanks for reading, stay safe, and have a wonderful weekend! Must go, I can hear a knock at the door…

Published by

plaidcamper

I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

12 thoughts on ““Oh no, elephants!””

  1. Excellent tales, Adam, dealing with the elephants of danger past & present, games presided by the hockey greats & Scout, herself, fine reminiscence of those risky boyhood adventures tempered by springtime ice patches, perhaps cushioned by dreams of tall orange cans of P.B. Ale… Thanks, and hope your weekend has an elephant of fun!

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    1. Thanks, Walt! With Scout, there’s always an elephant of fun – guaranteed. Our walks are getting longer, especially now we’re seeing some sunshine, and with less ice, the other elephants aren’t so scary.
      Hope you’re continuing to do well!

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  2. Wonderfully written, had me laughing. Oh, yes, I have seen a few “elephants.” You brought back some fun memories. Love the flying leap that Scout is taking, and wonder, “What would it be like if she had a camera?” Enjoy the blue skies this weekend.

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    1. Thanks, Jane! Glad you had a laugh or two here. I think we all have had our elephants of danger one way or the other over the years.
      I don’t think Scout could ever stay still long enough to take a photograph! Perhaps we could attach a GoPro to her?!
      The blue skies and warm weather have been very welcome.
      Enjoy the week ahead, and stay safe!

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  3. Thank you so much for filling the deep void left without the Stanley Cup playoffs with your fabulous hockey moves (love wraparound goals!!), laughter, great movie clip and an “oh no, elephants” moment that brought back these wonderful childhood tales!!! I’ve been told children are properly taught to ride on paths and trails with their helmets these days, but I loved remembering while laughing at the picture you painted (even looked up the ’70s NHS glasses to have a better picture) of those wonderful days of flying down hills without a thought that anyone would crash (loved my first Schwinn bike with the banana seat and a baseball card, one I probably stole from my brother, in the spoke of the wheels). Somehow I missed those great days of garage hopping you had, but I think I fell out of one too many trees. While for some reason my mother is able to watch all the replays of great sporting events that are currently being shown, I’ve stayed away from them, but after watching a few of the clips about the Crosby/Iginla goal I may change my mind (I’m sure Scout was very impressed with your replay)! Let’s hope the long arm of the law are not reading your blog so you can continue to share the stories that led to your life on the lam and I’m sure it was only the beer delivery man at the door. Loved the shot of Scout and thanks again for sharing the sporting excellence and making me laugh!!!

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    1. Thank you! Three out of four of us wore those NHS glasses, so imagine how happy we were when we saw Slap Shot – we thought we could be the British Hanson brothers, but for football not hockey. Never happened, and thank goodness for contact lenses…
      When we look back at childhood, it’s often a wonder we are still here, what with falling off bikes and out of trees. Children really do (mostly) bounce! I’d forgotten about the playing card in bike spokes. Tempted to dust off my bike and attach a card!
      Mrs PC would be ok with John Krasinski getting added to the interview list!

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  4. Oh, Adam, I am laughing! What a great stream of memories and now I will think of you whenever I hear that phrase. I clearly remember my brother and his friends jumping from roof to roof around the garages in our suburban New Jersey neighborhood. They didn’t seem to feel any elephant of danger either! Great post- thank you. 😃

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    1. Thanks, Jane! Glad you had a laugh or two here – isn’t it amazing we somehow survived the carefree and brain-free days of childhood? The underdeveloped fear centre in our brains that allowed us to laugh at elephants of danger.
      Take care!

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    1. Thanks, Miriam! I enjoyed writing this one about some of the daft things we got up to as kids. I don’t remember my parents thinking it was too funny – if they ever caught up with some of the stories about things we really got away with, well, we’d be in big trouble, even now…
      Have a good week!

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  5. Really fun stories, pc, I’m smiling as I type. Your descriptions are great, and even the element/elephant thing is easily reminiscent of young days. These antics and adventures are such a big part of who we are, it’s great to share them. Many thanks, and happy weekend to you. I hope spring arrived for you….

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