Albert County — After several weeks of careful consideration and extensive public consultations, the Heritage branch of the New Brunswick government has announced that “playing in wet dirt” will now be considered the province’s official pastime.
“The Government of New Brunswick is officially recognizing the historical and cultural impact that water mixed with earth has had on the province,” reads a government press release. “Historically, New Brunswickers have always had a close connection to the soil, but now we can proclaim with pride that we are the champions of playing in soft ground that is saturated with water.”
While many remain ambivalent toward ground or water on their own, mixing both together in roughly equal portions has inspired generations of both small toddlers too young to form words and rural New Brunswickers. From weekend mudding trips in deepest, darkest Albert County, to various charity mud-run events, to the annual Pollett River Run, New Brunswickers have always celebrated the importance of mixing dirt and water and then getting it on themselves.
“I like mud,” said Ashlaigh Steeves, 29, of Berry Mills. “I like the feeling when you squish it. It reminds me of pudding. It’s like pudding from the earth. I like it when trucks go in the mud. Sometimes I eat the mud. There’s only a one-letter difference between ‘mudding’ and ‘pudding.’ I like pudding.”
“When I come back from mudding with my truck on weekends, my wife always wants me to take a bath,” said Gary McNally, 34, of Petitcodiac. “But I don’t want bath time! I always scream ‘no no no!’ and cross my arms and threaten to hold my breath until I pass out.”
“It’s good to know that with this official designation, N.B. can be a national leader not only in unemployment, obesity, alcoholism, chronic illnesses, and lack of education, but also in filth and mudplay,” he gloated.
“Out in the country, us rural folk have a deep connection to nature and conservationism,” said Scott Murphy, 26, of Port Elgin. “So we love to get together for the Pollett River Run with our trucks and four-wheelers and drive around in the mud and get the mud on us and spray each other with the mud and also destroy the land and riverbanks and leave our empty beer bottles and shit everywhere. It’s how we give back to the planet to thank Her for the precious gift of mud.
“Also, this one time in the mud, I found a dead guy,” he added.
However, not everyone is pleased with the decision.
“When I was raising my kids in Ottawa, they loved to go out and play in the mud after it rained,” said Nancy Radcliffe, a mother of two who recently moved to Moncton. “It felt weird to come to New Brunswick and find almost an entire province that hadn’t grown out of that phase.”
Others fear the countryside is not ready for the massive influx of suburbanites who have overspent at Cabella’s and Bass Pro Shops and now wish to express their newfound love of mud, get drunk on Bud Light Lime, and finally get dirt on their Volvo station wagons.
Critics of the decision, for the most part, have been labelled “dull” and “unadventurous,” with some likening them to a stick in wet dirt.