‘The Cat in the Hat’ was wrong, it’s never too wet to play

Published 6:11 am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.” These lines from Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” could have described all of us over the past week. The downpours seemed to come over and over as this region experienced its longest sustained rain in years.

However, the weather was of particular concern to me, since this past Saturday was the occasion of Henry’s birthday. My grandson is now all of 5 years old, proving what my own grandfather always told me — “The older you get, the faster time flies”

The party was planned for a neighborhood park with school, church and family friends invited. Everyone watched the weather reports anxiously during the week, but the forecast was exactly on target with heavy rains and localized flooding. It was not a great day for a party at the park.

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Reluctantly, the party was moved inside to Henry’s house. Ten o’clock in the morning is the new time for birthday parties. A great idea actually, allowing the guests the afternoon to do their own thing. It also allows the exhausted parents of the birthday boy a chance to recoup.

I was thinking of a way to describe the scene we discovered as we walked into his house Saturday morning. Chaos is probably the most appropriate word that comes to mind. The boys were racing cars down a track as fast as they could. The girls were doing their own thing, most not interested in the racing cars. The noise level warranted ear plugs.

It was a delightful morning. Watching young boys and girls play with that high energy intensity makes grandparents glad they could come and glad they could leave. The sugar from the cupcakes gave everyone even more liveliness, although it doesn’t work as well if you are more than 50.

A brief break in the weather allowed Henry and his cousin, Laura, to go outside and play after the party. We played chase, tag, and hide-and-go seek. “Catch me, Granddaddy,” they would scream. “Ready or not, hear I come.” I ran, chased, and hid on my knees until I was sore all over.

Isn’t this one of the amazing things about children? It is really never too wet to play. They find the fun and joy even on a dreary day. In awful weather, all I saw from these children were smiles, laughter, teasing, and the sheer pleasure of being with friends.

Dr. Seuss had it wrong. It was a rainy day, but it is never too wet to play. Happy Birthday, Henry.