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Wayne’s World – More than fluff

Posted on July 21, 2014 by Maple Creek

After a slow start to spring, summer is definitely now in high gear and I am having trouble keeping pace. Work has been busy, so the weekdays fly by.

The problem is, so do the evenings and weekends and my recreational time as I struggle to take in events and occasionally kick back and relax at home.

On that note, I want to congratulate the many volunteers who were involved in Consul’s 100th anniversary. It was an awesome event and as they (and volunteers anywhere) know, it takes an unbelievable amount of work by a small army of residents who are committed to the project in order make an event a success. The effort of residents and sacrifice of their personal time is what made the difference between a “ho-hum” 100th anniversary and a truly memorable centennial celebration. Residents and guests will remember and talk about the birthday party for decades to come.

Last week, I was again reminded of the huge amount of work it takes to make an event a splendid success while I attended the Cowtown Pro Rodeo. While capturing the action with a camera, I thought back to the first rodeo I attended at Maple Creek and my amateurish photos that emerged from the dark room in the early-morning hours after the rodeo concluded. My, how times have changed and it is very clear the rodeo committee (comprised of only six members) and a mountain of helpers and volunteers deserve a big pat on the back. Gone are spectator conversations of the 1990s that chided organizers for awkward pauses and delays that were caused by a variety of factors.

Over the years, many improvements have been made that many spectators are not aware of. Those changes take time, effort and sometimes considerable cash to implement. However, perseverance coupled with community support and endless hours of work has resulted in a top-notch pro rodeo. The show is a smooth-running and very professional event that organizers, volunteers and hometown fans should be very proud of. Every year the rodeo improves and all I can says to the committee and workers is, “Congratulations on a job well done.”

How about Maple Creek’s Heritage Day last Friday and Parks Day at Cypress Hills Park on Saturday? Those days were packed full of activities and entertainment that I simply don’t have space to write about. We had to work Friday and my wife and I had company on Saturday, so we could not take in all the events at the park, but we did catch the fireworks that night. We, and many hundreds of other people, were treated to an excellent display of pyrotechnics as fireworks were launched from a floating platform in Loch Leven, and two opposing shorelines. For young and old, it was a great way to end the day.

The last three weeks have blasted by at record pace, but there is one aspect of spring and early summer I wish would speed up even faster. I am referring to cottonwood trees that blanket the town with their seed pods and fluffy white seeds. We returned from Ontario July 1 to discover a compacted layer of white fluff everywhere. It is a natural and annual process, but for some reason it seemed to irritate me more than ever this year. I tried to burn large areas of fluff, but my wife objected since she had clothes drying on her clothes line at the time.

Some people are apparently allergic to the fluff that covers lawns and driveways with a frosting or white covering that resembles snow. However, a forestry professor, Reinhard F. Stettler, at the University of Washington says it is a myth that cottonwood fluff is the culprit. He says it is actually pollen from other trees that cause allergic reactions, and it is released at the same time cottonwood seeds rains down. Hey, don’t shoot me – I am only the messenger.

I thought the days of white fluff being airborne were over and left our car windows open half way last week. That was a big mistake. When I opened the door, I discovered the wind or a late shedding cottonwood had peppered the entire inside of the car with seeds. It was hot out (that’s why the windows were left open) and I was sweating as I began the trip home. Opening the windows all the way and turning the air conditioner fan on high seemed like a sensible way of getting rid of the seeds. However, it created a circular air flow pattern that lifted the white fluff and blasted it around and around inside the car. Seeds went up my nose, behind my glasses and became stuck in one eye and got caught in my mouth. I proceeded to stop and tried unsuccessfully to sweep out the fluff with my hands.

While trying to dislodge the seeds from upholstery, I slapped the seat and a cloud of dust and seeds billowed up into my face. Abandoning the task, I drove the last few blocks home and went into our house. Upon looking in a mirror, I was embarrassed to see a sweaty and dirty face staring back that was speckled with white fluff from ear to ear. Upon closely looking at my condition, it became clear that I had definitely had an allergic reaction to cottonwood fluff. It was so severe that I suffered an involuntary verbal reaction and could not control my tongue. After rethinking the situation, I now believe the professor at Washington may be mistaken and should do a little more research – or leave his windows open in the early summer while parked near a cottonwood tree.

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