Along the Way. . .
Experiences, Insights & Humor on the “Long Road Home”
November 5, 2021
By Steven Maisenbacher
When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles. ~ Pooh Bear
One time along the way in Phoenix, Arizona, the child in me came out to play. It had been hot as only the desert can be in July when lo and behold along came some rain, but it seems that no one told it to stop, so it rained and it rained and it rained, days on end before it finally slowed down to a sprinkle. While the ground was still soaked and everything pretty much flooded it was beautiful temp wise, upper 90’s and just as pretty as it could be. So I decided to go to the yard.
Now I do not know what came over me, but I stomped in every water puddle along the way to the rec yard. See, I have always been a puddle stomper and love the “SPLOOOSH” it makes when you stomp down in them. Smile. So I make it across the compound merrily stomping my way to the rec yard, shorts, shoes and t-shirt soaked to the skin! As you go through the gate to enter the rec yard you pass the offices for the recreation staff, then next to that the barber shop and then a little drainage concourse that slopes down on several sides and meet in a big drainage grate.
It had been raining so very hard for several days that water had filled the pipes from the drainage area and created a pool 3 – 4 feet deep and about 10 feet across, a veritable swimming pool! Seeing this I just could not control myself. I took off running from the patio, across the sidewalk, past the barbershop, threw myself through the air and belly flopped right into the pool of water! The feeling was amazing!
But then the rec cops came out. They ordered me out of the “pool” and made me get away from the area, which was a good idea in hindsight because this was the desert and that was a scorpion that just floated past my head. So out I come and head for the track. Man, even more fun! I stomped my way around the entire 1/3 mile track thru every puddle, rivulet and wet spot I could find. When I finally got back around to the office side of the track the rec cop told me I had to leave and go back to the unit. I couldn’t believe it! I had been tossed off the rec yard for puddle stomping, a purely childish but innocent endeavor. So I re-stomp the puddles all the way back across the compound to the cell block, thinking it was really amazing that I didn’t actually get in any trouble other than being thrown off the recreation yard and sent back to the block.
So I get back to the block, wet, soaked and saturated and the air conditioning hits me. I’m one frozen person so I come out of the soggy clothes and get into a nice warm shower. By then it’s getting near 4 pm count time, so I just go hang in the cell listening to the smooth jazz station out of Phoenix on the radio and reading or whatever. We get counted and immediately after count, when they are opening the cell doors, an announcement comes out of great P.A. speakers in the sky:
“ATTENTION COMPOUND AND HOUSING QUARTERS, THE COMPOUND IS OPEN FOR A 10-MINUTE RECREATION MOVE TO THE RECREATION YARD! REPEAT, THE COMPOUND IS OPEN FOR A 10 MINUTE MOVE TO THE RECREATIOON YARD. THE YARD IS OPEN…TO EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU, MR. MAISENBACHER, YOU CAN’T SEEM TO CONTROL YOURSELF AROUND PUDDLES.”
This was not the first time my childish behavior got me in a bit of a stew, and it sure wasn’t the last time. But a kid has to have fun sometimes.
© Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher, 2021