Of course, I jest. I would never hush my mouth for a week, not even for a day. Even if the whole nation was willing to celebrate if I did. Even if my mouth was wired shut, and I could only form words using my tongue and my lips. Even then I would not be silenced entirely.
Also, of course, I don't mean that I should literally hush up — or, if you prefer bluntness — that I should shut up. I simply mean that this week, of all weeks so far in 2011, I should not complain. There, I said it. I have no reason to complain this week.
I also would like to take back the complaints I've had so far this year on a certain subject: flooding.
Officially, I want to apologize to my friends and family, and the whole nation too if it'll make everyone feel better. I complained in late January and early February that I had flooding three weekends in a row. (Stupid cuss-word water. I've never seen such a thing here!) And I complained in late February that I was still recovering from shoveling during the flooding. (Oh, the horrific pain!) I also complained again earlier in March about another round of flooding. (Why me? Oh, the doom!)
I'm sorry I complained of flooding. I didn't know what I was talking about. I never should've used that particular “F”-word.
One would think that Japan's tsunami would've showed me that I had no cause to complain of flooding. I mean, nobody died here. I didn't lose my home. I didn't even slip on the post-flooding ice jam and bruise a knee. But, no, I was determined to run with it.
By Monday, I was planning on writing an entire column about the fact that this is National Flood Safety Awareness Week — and it's the first week in the last two months that I haven't had to worry about flooding. The column was going to be funny (of course), dripping with irony, and full of all my grandiose exploits with my raging flood waters.
Then I helped a friend with some real flooding on Wednesday and that changed everything.
I drove to my friend's home east of Dodson late Wednesday afternoon to haul three dogs from her rescue shelter to drier emergency housing, only to discover that I couldn't actually get to her home. It was an oasis in the middle of a newly formed lake that started at the very edge of her property and stretched north, west and south beyond her 20-some acres to encompass a couple neighbors' homes, too.
All of my friend's rescue kennels were under 2 to 3 feet of water. Sixteen dogs were in crates inside her home — 16 dogs. And all 16 dogs had had to share, in shifts, the 3-feet by 15-feet strip of ground above water level alongside her house for bathroom privileges.
I waited in my car for the three dogs I would be transporting to be loaded into their pickup and hauled across the 60 feet of water-swamped driveway to my car. In the yard, four plastic dog houses half-floated amid the dog kennels and a feed bowl bobbed along the surface of the flood water.
As I pulled out onto the highway, taking my three passengers to their new digs, I looked over at the border collie-cross panting in the passenger seat and told him, "You probably don't appreciate it, but that is an awesome flood you had there, dog. No one would have to apologize for complaining about a flood like that."
(We're having an epic National Flood Safety Awareness Week at http://viewnorth40.wordpress.com.)