Friday, August 13, 2010

Sylvia And The Fine Art Of Diversion Channeling

By Anne Sullivan

“Oh no!” I shrieked after surveying the damage that the latest storm had wrought to what was once my lawn.
Hearing my cry Sylvia woke from her cat nap and ran over to ask, “What’s the matter,
“Just look at that,” I complained. “The water rushed down the mountain again and washed away the diversion channel I made for it and now there’s silt all over everything. I don’t know if I’ll be able to dig another channel before the next big rain, which will probably be tonight.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Sylvia after she’d taken in the full extent of the destruction.
“Now who am I going to get on a Sunday to do the digging?”
Sylvia was all sympathy. “Don’t you worry, boss. Gordo and I will do it. There’s no use you paying some outsider to dig when you can pay us.”
“You and Gordo? Can you dig a diversion channel that long? It’s got to get the water over to the arroyo.”
“Can we dig? Just watch us.” Sylvia put one paw to her mouth and whistled. Gordo came running up, bouncing with the joy of being wanted for once.
Sylvia barked at Gordo, who mewed in understanding, before investigating the yard. “Where do you want the channel, boss?” she asked, tail wagging with excitement.
“Right here,” I said, drawing a line with a stick in the silt covering the tufts of grass that now passed for a lawn.
Gordo followed Sylvia and they were both digging, dirt and silt and broken wildflowers flying, when I went into the house to fortify myself with a cup of comforting tea.
After a breakfast of oatmeal cookies and tea, I made several phone calls and settled down to the unpleasant task of paying bills.
It must have been an hour or two later that I was occupied in taking a wee nap when Sylvia knocked at the door.
“All done, boss,” she said when I opened it. “When do we get our money?”
“After I’ve inspected the job,” I said, going outside with Sylvia. Gordo was proudly standing beside a humungous mysterious hole covering more than half of the yard.
“Oh, no! Good heavens! Sylvia! Gordo! What have you done?!”
“Just what you asked, boss. We dug a diversion channel so the water would drain away.”
“But…but…my line. I drew you a line to follow.”
“Oh, yeah, we followed your line and then we dug a little more for good measure. We wanted you to be sure to get your money’s worth.”
“Are you both crazy?! Where are you trying to divert the water to? You’ve made the hole so big and so deep the only place the water will go is to the basement – if the house had a basement.”
“I try so hard,” Sylvia sniffed, “and still everything I do is wrong. It’s not fair. I thought,” she mumbled through tears, “we were doing such a good job and you’d be really pleased.”
“Well, it’s certainly a thorough job. I now have the biggest mudhole in Catron County.”
“Well, that’s something, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s something all right,” I said, shaking my head.
I could see Gordo, who had run off at the first sign of trouble, jumping between wildflowers across the parking lot which was mercifully still intact. When he realized I was watching him, he bounded over to me and dropped something at my feet.
“He wants you to pick it up,” said Sylvia. “It’s from both of us.”
For the third time that day I was overcome. But this time pleasantly. “Flowers,” I said, picking them up and smelling them. “Tall blue lupines and red Indian paintbrush and those lavender things I never know the name of. It’s a lovely bouquet.”
“It’s a peace offering,” said Sylvia who had stopped crying. “We’re sorry you’re not satisfied with our work. You won’t have to pay us till we’ve fixed it up.”
“Thank you for the beautiful flowers,” I said as I carried the bouquet into the house. Again I sniffed them and was immediately attacked by a bout of sneezing and coughing.
“Bless you,” said Sylvia and Gordo meowed.

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