Rain doesn’t stop ‘military exercises’ with toy soldiers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 10, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Saturday afternoon’s rains didn’t stop friends Jacob Perry, 6, and Dylan Craft, 4, from playing with Perry’s toy soldiers at the edge of Dogwood Street.

In fact, they prefer it that way.

&uot;We like playing in the rain,&uot; Perry said. &uot;It doesn’t bother us any.&uot;

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&uot;Actually, they would like it to rain a little more,&uot;&160;said Perry’s mother, Joyce Perry. &uot;When it does, they have more water to splash through on their bikes.&uot;

Joyce Perry watched them from under her carport, still recovering from her 24-hour shift as a paramedic for American Medical Response, an ambulance service. Her shift ended that morning.

&uot;Right now, I’m trying to clean house while I’ve got the time,&uot; she said. &uot;My husband is a paramedic and he’s off work, too, but he’s at the hunting camp getting it ready for the (hunting) season that’s about to start.&uot;

And Perry’s teenager wasn’t there either, having taken the family’s dog earlier that day to a pet contest at the Jim Bowie Festival.

Perry herself was taking a break from housework, watching the boys run up and down the dead-end street that ran through the quiet neighborhood.

&uot;Actually, they’re supposed to be playing either under this carport or in the back yard,&uot; Perry said, shaking her head and laughing.

But boys will be boys. A few minutes later, they were testing their limits by venturing to the edge of the nearby, concrete-lined Vidalia Canal, a place they are not supposed to go.

The rule is that she has to be able to see the tops of their heads — and when they threatened to disappear, she called them back toward the house.

The boys tested the limits of their toys, too, dropping the dolls onto the wet pavement with or without their military helmets.

&uot;My dude is soaking wet,&uot; said Jacob Perry, holding up a soldier whose camouflage pants were drenched in rainwater.

Then they headed back toward Perry’s house again.

The boys are usually good-natured when playing with each other, Joyce Perry said. &uot;They have their fights — two just this morning, I&160;think,&uot;&160;she said.

&uot;But a few minutes later, one of them will come up to the other one, saying ‘You want to play?’ &uot;