Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Mad Scientist - A Bedtime Story for Kids.

It was the end of a long and lazy Saturday for Simon.  He'd been outside riding his bike around the block, splashing in the puddles from the rain that had fallen the night before.  After a hearty lunch of instant noodles, grilled cheese, and a big, fat pickle, Simon decided to look over his favourite hockey cards.

Browsing through the cards, he came across his favourite players:  Buddy Splunder, left winger for the Golden Turtles, Mikael Radavoyinovskiloshovic (Rad-ah-voy-in-off-ski-low-sh-vic), a tough as nails defender for the last place Clammy Spiders.  There was Dave Bucketsauce, a goalie for Simon's favourite team, The Flying Saucers.  They weren't very good, but Dave had a great glove hand and was really nice to his teammates.  After practice, the other players would often find notes of encouragement from Dave, along with some freshly baked chocolate chip brownies.

Oh, yes.  Dave was a great guy.  And for Simon, it didn't get any better than when Dave Bucketsauce was on the ice!  Simon was so sad when, a few years ago, Bucketsauce had to retire.  He had already played a long time in the league, and now he would play sometimes with other older players for fun.  Whenever those players would come to town, Simon would always get his dad to buy a ticket for him.

On the back of the cards there was often little notes about each player.  Simon would read these notes to help to get to know the players a little bit better:

• Mikael's favourite food was cheeseburgers with peanut butter and bacon jam.

• Buddy Splunder once sailed on a pirate ship across the Bermuda Triangle.  He made it through, but just barely.  The lighthouse workers found Buddy on his ship, passed out from the terrible journey.   When Buddy awoke he discovered that he was now left handed and he was fluent in Portuguese.  The language didn't help him that much at first, but a left handed left winger was just what coach Skipper LeBarge was looking for.  Buddy quickly became one of the best scorers in the league, and spent most of his summers off leading tour groups down to the remote parts of Brazil.

Simon flipped over Bucketsauce's card and soon realized, to his amazement, that he had never, ever read the back of his card.  This is what it read:

"David Pewter Bucketsauce grew up in Stony Plain, Alberta.  His favourite subject in school was Science, where he learned from the great science teacher, and former Amazing Hockey League Superstar Sandra McGarnickle.  Bucketsauce says he learned all his moves from McGarnickle, as she taught him Gym class as well."

Simon had to rub his eyes and read that again, so he did:

"David Pewter Bucketsauce grew up in Stony Plain, Alberta.  His favourite subject in school was Science, where he learned from the great science teacher, and former Amazing Hockey League Superstar Sandra McGarnickle.  Bucketsauce says he learned all his moves from McGarnickle, as she taught him Gym class as well."

Simon couldn't believe it!  Do you want to know why?  Well, there are 3 reasons why:

1.  Simon was also from Stony Plain, Alberta.  In fact, he still lived there.  
2.  Simon's Grandma was a science teacher in Stony Plain a long time ago.
3.  Simon's last name was McGarnickle.  The same as his Grandma's, whose name was Sandra.

So... Sandra McGarnickle was Simon's Grandma!  She had passed away when Simon was very young, so he didn't know her very well, but wow!  He had no idea that she played in the Amazing Hockey League.  

Simon threw his cards down and ran into the front yard to ask his mom about it.  She was outside planting some flowers.  To Simon, some of them smelled nice like roses and candy.  Others smelled like mothballs, dirty dirt, and rotting leaves with rotting leaves rotting on top of them.

"Mom, how come you never told me that Grandma was in the AHL?!"

Simon's mom smiled.  "I was wondering when you were going to figure that out.  I knew that her name was all over your hockey cards.  I'm surprised it took you this long to find it."

Simon thought for a moment.  He had so many hockey cards (at least 412) that he didn't have time to read them all; just his favourites.  "Oh, well, yeah, I guess I should have.  I can't believe it!  This is the coolest thing ever!"

Simon's mom leaned in close.  "You want to know something?  I'm pretty sure we have a box somewhere out in the garage that has a whole bunch of her stuff.  Do you want to go and see if we could find it?"

But Simon was already gone, flying around the yard and through the garage door.  Inside he stared up at the giant wall of shelves.  Simon was a pretty little guy, so it was hard to see all the way up to the top of the shelves.  He once tried climbing up them, but got scared at about the 4th shelf.  He was pretty sure there were about 1000 shelves, even though his mom knew that there were only 8.

"Okay, okay, just a sec.  Let me see here."  Simon's mom grabbed a small ladder and climbed up to see to the top of the shelves.  "Ah, yes, this looks like the right one."

She pulled out the dusty, worn out cardboard.  The handles looked too weak for her to use, so she gently cradled it under her arm as she stepped back down.

Together they carried it into the house and placed it down on the living room floor.  

Simon couldn't wait any longer.  He threw open the lid.  Dust filled the air, but only for a moment.  Inside the box, right on the top, was a worn out and faded hockey jersey.  The colours were that of the legendary Mt. Fling Slippery Frogs!  What hockey fan could ever forget that memorable goal that Frog legend Skrive Lightbulb scored to win the Championship Cup back in 1994?  Simon must have watched the clip a thousand times on the Internet.  He flipped the sweater over to reveal the number 10 and his very own last name on the top!

"Wow!  Coooooool!  Grandma was a Slippery Frog!"  Tears welled up in Simon's eyes, but just for a moment.  He felt so much pride, for his Great Grandma, and now for the #10.  Simon had always been #25, but from now on he wanted to be just like his Grandma.  

"Try it on."  His mom told him.  Simon lifted the Gold and Orange sweater over his head and pushed his arms through.  It flopped down like a dress, but Simon didn't care.  He ran to the mirror, turned around and saw his name... his number.  Wow!

"There's more in here, Simon."  He ran back to see big pile of things:  Some hockey socks, some special Slippery Frog hockey tape, complete with their trademark "Outrageous Orange" lucky checker pattern.  He found a trophy that his Grandma had won when she played Jr. Hockey in Scarlet town, playing for the Lodge Mart Vinyl Sidings.  They were named after their top sponsor, Lodge Mart, which specialized in selling Barbecues, lawn furniture, and really, really big chocolate bars.  Grandma Sandra had been the team's top rookie in 1987.

Simon also found some of his Grandma's hockey cards, one for each year that she had played.  Altogether Grandma Sandra had played from 1992-2009, a total of 17 seasons, all with the Slippery Frogs.  Wow!  

Simon was born in 2008, so she had even played when he was just a baby.  Amazing!

For the next several hours, Simon poured over his Grandma's cards, being extra careful as he turned them over to read the back.

Sandra McGarnickle • Right Wing • Slippery Frogs
Goals • 28
Assists • 37
Points • 65

"When Sandra's not playing hockey, she's in the school, teaching kids about Science.  He favourite thing to teach about is bugs, and how crazy bugs are.  Her students think that she is very cool.  Her students have a nickname for her, they call her The Mad Scientist."

Sandra McGarnickle • Right Wing • Slippery Frogs
Goals • 37
Assists • 48
Points • 85

"This season, Sandra had the best point totals of her career.  She credits her high numbers to eating a lot of good, healthy vegetables, lots of rock climbing, and most importantly, always watching the sports highlights in the mornings before school."

Sandra McGarnickle • Right Wing • Slippery Frogs
Goals • 21
Assists • 24
Points • 45

"McGarnickle has decided that this will be her last season in the Amazing Hockey League.  She is looking forward to spending more time doing other things with her time, like collecting seashells, painting her garden fence like a rainbow, smelling flowers, riding her bike through puddles after it had rained the night before, and most importantly, spending some time with her new Grandson, Simon."

He couldn't believe it!  She had talked about him to the hockey card people!  His name was on the card!  He was famous!  Just like his Grandma!  Wow!

Simon also thought it was really cool that his Grandma also liked to splash through puddles after it had rained the night before.  He really, really liked that.

For a moment, sadness came over Simon.  He wished he would have been able to know his Grandma.  She had been such a cool lady, and it seems like they would have had a lot in common.  Simon wanted to talk to her, to ask her what it was like to play in the AHL, to see what it was like to play for the Slippery Frogs and even with the great Dave Bucketsau... wait a second!!!

Simon dashed through the living room, grabbed his mom's tablet, and went on to Hockeytube.  He searched up his favourite Slippery Frogs video, the game winning goal for Skrive Lightbulb.  And it was there...  How could Simon have been so blind?.... how could he have never seen it before?...

Simon pressed 'play' on the video and all at once the announcer's voice echoed throughout the room.

"The game is tied at 3 with only seconds to play.  The 1994 Championship Cup is on the line tonight.  Who will win?  The Mt. Fling Slippery Frogs or the defending Champions, the Twirly Darts of St. Luca De Boca?  

The faceoff is in the Dart's zone.  Rookie Skrive Lightbulb is out there to take the draw.  He wins it!  The puck comes back to DeLantain.  He holds it, moves it across to Buttersworth.  Buttersworth passes it back to DeLantain.  Only 4 seconds to go,  They need to get a shot here!

Yes, DeLantain lets a wrist shot go, it hits a body in front and bounces around.  The Mad Scientist get's her stick on it and pokes it through to Lightbulb, he shoots, he scores!!!!!  Frogs win!  Frogs win!  What a play by the Mad Scientist!  What a player!  What a Champion!"

Simon still couldn't believe it.  He turned to see his mother by the doorway, smiling brightly at her son learning about his amazing Grandma.

It was a long and lazy Saturday for Simon, that is, until he met the legend that is: The Mad Scientist.

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