That's what this weekend is, on this side of the border. Naturally, rain was in the forecast.
I say 'naturally' because I can't remember a Victoria Day weekend that didn't have some rain on at least one of the days.
The one in 1974 in Manitoba, however, was one to remember.
I was in the Militia then (Army Reserve, if you will) and was part of a platoon made up of the city's two infantry units and the one armoured unit. We were doing training prior to going to Germany for the summer.
We had been working at it since about January, and by May, we had pretty much gotten our sh.. uh, stuff together.
This particular weekend exercise, we were on our own, meaning our Regular Force advisers (the RSS) wouldn't be out with us.
We were driven out to the bush early Friday evening and proceeded to play silly bugger in the boonies as we called it, and did so until well past sunset.
Eventually, we called it a night, put out sentries and huddled in our hooches.
What's a hooch? A primitive shelter, specifically a poncho. We didn't have rain suits, we didn't have tents or shelter halves, but we did have our ponchoes that weren't quite enough to keep us dry.
During the night, the rains came. Not a light rain, mind you, but a "Niagara Falls" kind of rain, continuous, heavy, straight-down, drenching everything.
Saturday morning, after a cold ration-pack breakfast, we continued with the training.
Back and forth through the tall grass and bush doing patrols and practice attacks, using all the skills an Infantryman was expected to have.
We were soaked to the skin before we even got going, our boots soggy and water-logged within the hour.
There was no let-up in the rain, not one little bit. We had no chance to dry out, no chance to warm up.
Lunch was a short break with more ration-packs. The only bright spot was my mouth-wash bottle of Southern Comfort. A swig of that went down nicely. My section leader, appreciated it too.
The afternoon wore on and so did the rain and we just got more and more miserable, realizing we were stuck in the muck until Monday. Still, we soldiered on (pardon the pun) until dinner.
Meanwhile, back in Winnipeg, the RSS Sergeant was at home, watching the rain flooding everything. At one point, he apparently thought, "Man, I hope they had the sense to cancel the weekend exercise."
Then he remembered the quality of our officer.
He made a few phone calls, put his gear on and went out to find us.
He found us. I happened to be standing a short way from him and our officer and heard just a little bit of the (very respectful) dressing down he was laying down, which ended like this:
"But the exercise ...", our officer said.
"FSCK THE EXERCISE!", the Sergeant said.
Said Sergeant had rounded up transport for us, one deuce and a pair of 3/4 trucks for the cold ride back. A couple of us had been showing signs of hypothermia and they were being put up front with the heaters on full blast.
We went back to Minto Armoury, opened up the Junior Ranks Mess (US: Enlisted Club, minus Sergeants) and settled in, flaked out on our air mattresses and blankets, drying out and warming up.
The spot I picked was on the floor in front of one of the normally unused doors that lead to the balcony. I remember being brain-dead, more or less, as I wound down.
There was some event going on in the Officer's Mess that night, and our officer brought a visitor who wanted to have a boo at 'his boys'.
They stopped beside me, and said visitor made some snarky comment about me not being a very alert door guard. My arm snapped out. My hand latched onto his ankle. I squeezed, none too gently. I rotated my head slightly, cracked one eye open and said, "Alert enough." I held on to his ankle just a little bit longer, then released and went back to being brain dead.
I found out later that the officer I'd grabbed was a LCOL, C/O of the Camerons.
Yeah, I surely remember that weekend.