• Terry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. A Long Overdue Apology

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

At one time I was very young. I am talking about 3 years old. That period is mostly dim in my rear-view mirror but there are a few memories that stand out with clarity all these years later. Regrettably, they tend to be a bit on the embarrassing side but they also tend to reflect how young kids see the world. They also illustrate that I have been a brat a very long time.

I recall being in the playground in the CFB Winnipeg PMQs. There were swings, teeter-totters, sandboxes, a monkey bar, slide, and expansive grassed areas. This park was in the center of Leicester Square. I was playing with another young friend, about my same age, although his name has faded his importance to me at that time was huge as will be illustrated in this story.

Imagine being as young as we were and being able to go to the park alone! Maybe we had snuck out, but I do recall having great freedom as a child. How the world has changed.

I recall seeing a pipe sticking out of the ground on the way to the playground. It was right across the street from the teeter-totters. It had a heavy metal cover, but not so heavy that our young hands couldn't lift it open. At the bottom of the pipe was a water shutoff valve. I had no idea what this thing was for, but I did note that the opening was just about the same size as a three year old's bum. You can probably guess where this story is going.

We were having so much fun on the teeter-totters that, when I felt a need to be honourable to my potty training, I remembered that stand-pipe. I was concerned that if I went all the way home, by the time I got back my friend would be gone AND, since that stand-pipe was the right size and the general same shape as what I would be using at home, why not?

I don't recall how Mom actually found out what I did. I do recall a kid riding by on a bicycle and saying something about how what I was doing was wrong, but she did. I learned that, regardless of its convenient shape and location, and even though I didn't mess myself, pooping in a water main shut-off stand-pipe is not the right thing to do.

And, all these years later, I still feel sorry for the CE worker who next had to have occasion to adjust that valve. To you sir, I apologize.

The standpipe was where the hydrant is now.

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