The Can Opener Caper

climbing window

Going back to growing up on a farm in Northern Alberta I occasionally have a memory that makes me chuckle or it makes me shake my head, well, this is one of both.

We lived 7 miles from town, on a dirt road that had no name, our closest neighbor was about 1/4 mile down this road.  The neighbors last name was “Berlin”, their son Vince was in my grade at school.  The Berlin’s were going on a holiday for a week and needed someone to feed their cat, I volunteered.  They were very grateful and told me they’d have everything I would need for the cat in the garage because that was where she lived.

When the day came for me to go and feed their cat it was the most miserable day ever that Spring, it was raining, no, it was pouring cats and dogs!  I pulled on my raincoat and rubber boots and began my trek down the muddy long road towards the Berlin’s house.  It was raining so hard that I was soaked to the skin by the time I reached their garage.  The cat was sleeping in a box and as I approached she awoke and seemed very happy to see me, I spent some time petting and playing with her before I took note of a few cans of cat food sitting on a shelf.   “Ok girl” I said, “I’ll get you some supper, you must be hungry”, I found her dish and grabbed a can and I started searching for a can opener, no can opener in sight … “Oh Crap!” I said to myself, “how am I going to open the cat food ?”.  I wasn’t happy!  So, I found a nail and a Hammer and started hammering the nail around the edge of the lid, well, it wasn’t working very well, and I was just making a mess so I quit and thought to myself “there must be another way? but  do I really want to walk all the way home in this pouring rain just to get a can opener?” No!  So, I left the garage, walked around the outside of the Berlin’s house and I tried the front door to see if it was unlocked,  damn it was locked!  so much for that idea!  Then a lightbulb went off in my head, which isn’t always a good thing!

As I walked around the outside of their house I noticed there wasn’t any glass in any of the basement windows as the house had been recently raised and the cement had been poured into the 8 ft walls to form the basement. I peeked into one of the window’s and noticed the floor was just a big muddy puddle that was rising steadily in the rain storm, I could see a set of filthy stairs in one corner that lead to the living quarters upstairs, I was crossing my fingers that basement door wasn’t locked!

I devised a plan!

I found a 12 ft. plank that was laying outside in the yard, I slid it into one of the windows so it was leaning against the wall so it reached the floor.  I then got myself ready to do a “Break & Enter” even though those words never entered my 13 yr. old head.  In my mind  it was their fault I had to try to find a way in, I was just trying to do what they asked me, “Feed their cat”!

I landed hard on the edge of the floor but couldn’t stop myself from landing partiality in the mud puddle on my butt!  Now I was wet and muddy, I swore out loud hoping no one heard me, but there wasn’t a soul around so the coast was clear.  I waded across the floor to the stairs and tiptoed up them hoping my foot prints dried before the week was over, I  slowly reached for the door handle, trepidation running through my cold wet bones… Ha! it opened!  A wave of relief washed over me!

I took my boots off and tiptoed into the house, heading straight to the kitchen to search the drawers for the cursed can opener, it didn’t take me very long to find it and I slipped it into my pocket, but making sure my movement didn’t leave any drips on the floor.  I high tailed it out of there back to my boots to the flooded basement!  Why I didn’t just go out the front door and lock it behind me is a total mystery till this day.  I struggled back up the wall of the basement, back out the window with help of the wooden plank and into the pouring rain, back to the garage to the awaiting cat to open her a can of cat food.

I really don’t think I thought this plan through, I still had to replace the stupid can opener at the end of the day…So back into the basement window, up the stairs and into the house then back down to climb out the window!   Why I just didn’t spend all that energy to walk home and get a can opener is beyond me, but at least I removed the plank, made sure I left no evidence and remembered  the next day to bring my own can opener!  I just hoped the cat and her owners realised just how much trouble I went through to open her food, well maybe not so much her owners! But I knew deep down the cat loved me for feeding her every day that week!


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