We went to Mexico City as a family, known as Mexico by the locals. This was an ambassadorial trip to meet extended family of my sister’s in laws and have all the new babies baptized at the Cathedral of Guadeloupe. Counter-intuitively, the baptism was about the only thing we did not do while in the city despite the fact that the entire family and all of the babies were in the cathedral at one point.
One, fine afternoon, we went to an aunt’s house for a barbecue. They had set up all sorts of delicious food, and there was general merriment until it started raining. There was general merriment while it was raining actually, and then things started to fall apart. The first incidence was that the courtyard where we were celebrating and laughing at children’s reactions to a minion piñata was covered with large tarps. This was great. We were protected from the rain and could continue chatting and devouring tacos, right?
As I stood up to refill my coca-cola, one of the biggest tarps came crashing down with a giant wave of water right in front of me. I jumped out of the way of most of it, which was a surprise since my reactions are not always spot on and this happened so fast I barely registered it, but a cousin got the brunt of the sudden downpour of all the water that had been collecting in the tarp. We laughed about this and talked about the narrow escape of so many people from a thorough drenching.
Then we started to notice the tarp over the door.
This tarp had been collecting the deluge just as effectively as the other had, and it was slowly sagging lower and lower over the door. As one of the tallest, I could reach up and touch it, which meant as it was affixed to the roof that there was just over a bathtub full of water being held on by whatever twine they could find as they set it up that day.
Each person who had to go inside would duck their head and rush by in mortal terror of the whole thing giving way. Eventually, something had to be done. A few people disappeared up the stairs onto the roof, but there was no evidence that they had a solution, and bailing out a tub in the pouring rain seemed counterproductive anyway. My sister’s father-in-law moved to the strategy of broom + tent = water pour off. He started to press the handle of the broom up against the bottom of the sagging tarp, and water poured down on him. We all sat well back figuring he was going to cause the tarp to split and find himself with much more than he bargained for.
The tarp was holding and there was some progress. Eventually, those up on the roof started pulling as we pushed with the broom. I took a brief turn, but moved back again as I had already had a brush with soaking.
Out the water came faster and faster as it poured down on the pavement and my sister’s father and law when suddenly, a live duck poured down on his head!
We all stopped, completely stupefied by the sudden appearance of the waterfowl and watched as he and the duck had an unexpected tussle in which neither found what was happening or the unexpected company pleasant. The duck started wandering around the courtyard as we all burst into laughter. Not only was there a bathtub of water in the tarp, but it was enough to have enticed a duck to come for a swim. What in the world was a duck doing in our tarp in a thunderstorm?
As it turned out, the duck was a pet, and so slightly more expected. However, that was the most unexpected appearance of an animal I have experienced and the fact the duck went for a swim in the tarp still makes me laugh. The thunderstorm passed, everyone dried off, and the party went on with a great topic of conversation to propel it.