I love the Summer Rain

I’m late in posting for Father’s Day.   This is always one of my go-to happy memories.

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Photo by Alicia Zinn on Pexels.com Jeans soaked, feet wet in a puddle of rain

This is the original essay which was my tribute for Father’s Day a few years ago.  I condensed it for an assignment last week.  Please enjoy this version too.

“I love the summer rain!” I shouted in my head because there was no one around to hear my declaration and ‘cause no one really cared.  “Why?” I asked myself; I knew the answer from the minute I felt the first heavy drops.  It was because of him.  And because of him, I stood there for a moment in the pouring rain.  Just a moment, long enough for my jeans to get soaked and my tee shirt drenched and long enough to conjure up the video I wanted to play in my mind. 

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Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com Fun in the rain

He must have been about the age I am now that day.  Mid-fifties, receding gray hair, twinkling eyes, round face with half a crooked smile and a round belly to match. He wore shorts, his thin shirt unbuttoned halfway, and he’d already lost his shoes on the porch as he ran out to catch the rain.   In all the excitement, he skipped and twirled tempting my girls to join him.  Lovey had already shed her sandals and was waiting for the “go ahead.”   I realized it was contagious as I liberated Annie from her orthopedics.  Soon they were all laughing and skipping and twirling, wet through and through in the tropical rain.  My mother and I just smiled from the sidelines, more concerned with what

the neighbors in the subdivision were thinking behind their blinds.

They called him “El Sapo” – “The Frog.”  They say as a kid he would love to cool down by laying on the floor, with his legs in a diamond shape like a frog.  He loved the water, he loved the rain, and he loved us.  In the good times and the bad, of that, we could be sure.

I wished him here today.  I wanted to be that little girl and dance in the rain and to have him hold me tight like he did the day Eddie died and he had no words to console me.  How does one console a daughter whose young husband just died in the recovery room?  We held each other the same way as we said our final good-byes to my mom on a warm summer morning.   I wanted to hold him for the night that he died that I didn’t, but rather blew him a kiss from the door because I had the flu and didn’t want to share it with him.  

As I think of him now, I know he wasn’t perfect, but I am grateful for all he was and all he left behind including that little bit of him in me. 

 

Letter R – Reality and beyond

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There is a fun side to an alternative reality. I like to live on the edge of it sometimes. That’s why I write. I like to look down a narrow dirt trail and wonder how many people walked there before me. How many footsteps and how many years did it take to carve out this path? Who were they? Where were they going? Did they carry hollowed canoes to the river? Was it a shortcut to town? Was it a path to freedom?

Depending on who my companion is, I can elaborate a life story for these imaginary dirt trailpeople – joys and sorrows included. My friend would say, “yes, and…” to complete my narrative. One of my siblings would say, can’t we just walk without you making things up? Peaceful walks in quiet reflection, engrossed in the sights and sounds are one of my favorite things to do. However, there is a time for everything under the sun, and sometimes, I want to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. As a side note, remember it’s important to choose travel companions wisely to enjoy the moment fully.

When my sisters were young, and the mood was right, they could spend hours “talking” to our mutt, Victor.  The girls at about five or six years old, obviously knew it was me talking for Victor.  I never pretended to be a  skilled ventriloquist to throw my voice in his direction. I was almost ten years older, and yet, we managed to entertain each other regardless as Victor sat between us loving all the attention.

Victor was some kind of a shepherd mix and quite a storyteller. He would tell them how his day went – who stopped by the house, what he saw each time he went out to “do his business,” what extra treats he got, what he thought Mom was cooking for dinner that made his mouth water. Sometimes he would complain that Fred, the stray cat, had come into through the kitchen window to brag about his adventures in the alley and the mouse that got away.

Sometimes I would live vicariously through Fred, the stray. I learned to love cats with Fred, despite my dad’s superstitious apprehensions. Fred was big for a cat, furry, gray and quite independent. He would roam the back alleys of our city freely with a swagger and without fear. I would wonder how far his cat feet could carry him. Where did he go and what did he see? Did he stop at other homes? What did other families name him? Most days he would only stop in for a short while to eat. In the winter or hot summer days, he would stay longer to keep warm or cool off. Those days before he took off again, he would rub against us one by one as if to say “thanks”. One time he came back with cuts and scrapes. We tried to keep him in the house and off the streets, but as soon as he was strong enough, he was wailing at the window to be let out. At times he was gone for days, and one day he never returned. Unfortunately, there was never a shortage of alley cats in our neighborhood, and soon Fred was replaced by Snagglepus and then Mister Magoo.

Not too long ago I was at one of those Brews, Jazz and Funk Festivals at the park by the river. As the tribute band played well-known favorites, a small, lone figure of a dancer rocked and rolled her way to the front of the stage. With her ripped shorts, bracelets, and tattoos up her arm, she personified the saying “dance as if no one was watching.” She was easily in her 70s, but she had obviously transcended time, and everything else around her didn’t exist. She was definitely in the zone and inspired others to step out. Soon she was surrounded by people of all ages letting the music take control. When the music stopped, she was visibly exhausted, but I caught that big smile that slipped across her face. She had a cosmic air about her. Who was she? How many concerts in the park had she attended? Was she a musician herself? In my mind her name was Carole, and she sang and played with a band a lifetime ago.

I like to stretch my mind beyond what my eyes can see. It’s great for problem-solving and relationship building because it helps me to have an open mind to see alternative beginnings and endings. As I continue to blog, I’ll share some of the stories of my alternate reality. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have making them up and perhaps together we’ll learn a few things about us along the way.

R is for Reality, the alternative kind.

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