Thursday, July 16, 2009

Laughter in the Rain

For now, I'm going to refer to my Thursday stories as Tammy's Trips Down Memory Lane. That is not set in stone, so if something magical occurs to you in a dream (yes, I'm just arrogant enough to assume that I figure into your dreams), be sure to let me know. Till then, here's today's trip:

I love to take a daily walk. On a recent summer visit to Florida, due to excessive heat, the only feasible times to do so were early in the morning or late in the evening. As a committed fan of the sunrise, I opted for mornings.

The first morning we were there, I rose before anyone else and laced up my walking shoes. It was dawn and the air was filled with potential, as it always is just before sunrise.

I took a few confident brisk steps before realizing that on this particular morning the air was filled with a very specific potential. The potential for rain. There wasn't any threat of thunder or lightning, so I shrugged and continued. While it's true that I'm sweet, I felt in no imminent danger of melting should a drop or two hit my head.

When those first tentative drops started plopping down, the house I'd just left was still in sight. Turning around would've been easy, but easy is rarely fun. It's NEVER exciting.

So I kept walking - away from my temporary abode and towards I wasn't quite sure what. Once one gets over the initial indignation of being wet where one is accustomed to being dry, it's quite invigorating. I found my smile widening with every step. I started to avoid a puddle, then changed my mind and tromped right through it, causing big splashes as I did. By this point I was giggling and seeking puddles. I tried to work up the nerve to broad jump right into one, but my new found levity hadn't extended quite that far yet. It was fun to just contemplate it. And to kick my way through the puddles.

When I arrived back, I was soaked to the skin - nie - to the bones. It was difficult to undress because the rain had produced quite an adherent between my clothes and my skin. I eventually got them all peeled off and jumped into the shower.

More water falling on my head.

I had a brief flashback to when I was a little girl. We were camping somewhere in New England and had been caught up in a similar downpour on a walk. I had dipped my toe tentatively into a puddle and looked at my mom, expecting to be reprimanded. I never in a million years expected to hear what I heard next. "Jump in it! It's fun!"

Had that devil on my shoulder actually spoken out loud? He was getting mighty bold. I started to say, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" as I'd been taught to utter when the devil on my shoulder encouraged me to do things I oughtn't, when I realized that this time, the devil sounded a lot like my mom. My mommy. Mommy would never encourage me to do something that was bad.

I looked at her again for confirmation. She nodded her encouragement and even pantomimed a little jump. My mom didn't even get her hair wet in the swimming pool, and here she was, standing in the rain encouraging me to jump in puddles. My whole world was topsy turvy and I loved it. I jumped heartily. She laughed with a heartiness that matched it.

It was just a moment, but what a moment it was.

Fast forward a few years. I was in my teens and we were at the beach with a few other families, and it was raining. All of the kids were miserable and whiny. We were tired of reading. We were tired of playing cards. We were certainly tired of each other. We were driving my mother up a tree.

"Go out and do something!"

"We can't"

"Why not?"

"It's raining!" The obvious 'duh' that followed this was expressed through several sets of simultaneously rolling eyes.

Then my mother spoke the line that continues to be her trademark in certain circles to this day: "You're looking out the wrong window."

We - the teens and tweens - had been, apparently, taking the rain too literally.

We thought we'd call her bluff. We'd just step out and get a little wet. Show her the effects of the very real rain that was falling outside of every window, as far as we could see. We walked out the door, certain she'd stop us. She shooed us along.

"Oh, what a lovely sunny day!" we exclaimed sarcastically, making quite a show of being very wet. Then it came over us, slowly, but as a group, that we were actually having fun. And when this realization fully hit, we kicked puddles. We jumped in the pool fully clothed (we were already soaked to the skin - what further harm could be done?) We splashed and played, caught up in a complete lack of adolescent pretension. Caught up in a state of pure, uncut bliss.

We - deep breath, because I never use this word but can't think of a better one because it's perfect - frolicked. Yep. We frolicked in the rain.

Hey! Just like puddle jumping, once that barrier's down, it's easy! Frolic, frolic, frolic! We frolicked the livelong day away. We were actually just a little bit sad when the sun returned.

We saw people staring at us from inside their campers, shaking their heads in disapproval.

Oh, what we knew that they didn't know.

What my mom knew that they didn't know.

When it comes to rain, as long as there's no thunder and lightning (very very frightening) I've never looked out the wrong window since.


Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Those are some very sweet memories you have of your mother and the rain!!!

My girls use to go outside and dance in the rain and sing....I think the neighbors thought they were crazy!!

Jumping in puddles can make you feel like a kid again! :) Thanks for reminding me of that!

Mama-Face said...

You write so well about your memories. I wish it would rain right now for some good puddle jumping. And so it wouldn't be 100 degrees today.

I encourage my children to jump in puddles; but I never can bring myself to do it. I must re-think that.
No wonder I never have any fun...

Brandy said...

I love that! Your mom sounds awesome at the topsy turvy moments. Funny thing is that most of are looking at it as rain. Icky, yucky rain but really what does it hurt to be wet?

Honestly I've thought of washing my car when it rains (hello - free water!) but I know my neighbors would think I'm nuts. LOL!

Carma Sez said...

You raise a great point. Occasionally we will *gasp* go for a walk in the rain with our umbrellas. I was getting tired of missing our occasional nightly walks due to rain so I proclaimed that we should walk anyway - my son was 'stunned' with this radical decision but had a blast (well as much of a 'blast' as you can have when walking ;-)

Dumb Mom said...

My boys are deathly afraid of thunder & lightning. I think it's fun. Almost as fun as being featured on SITS! Thanks for joining my party:) Come back anytime!

Anonymous said...

I love it.

I've always been a fan of walking in the rain (as long as it's not too cold).

Sandy said...

As usual, a beautifully-written post! I grew up spending my summers camping and I distinctly remember running around in the was warm, not harmful and fun!

Kathy B! said...

I love these memories! And you write the stories so well...

By the looks of things outside, we're going to be able to make our own puddle stomping memories at my house soon!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story. I wish I could remember my childhood with more clarity and that I was able to transform it into a great story like you do.

I do love dancing in the rain.

Claudya Martinez said...

What a great saying your mother has. I'm going to steal it.

AiringMyLaundry said...


You know, I've actually always wanted to kiss in the rain. Movies make it so romantic. But my husband says no way and looks at me as though I'm insane when I say, "It's raining! Let's go outside and makeout!"

Macey said...

What a great saying about looking out the wrong window! I love it, I love these posts!

the girl with the pink teacup said...

Oh Tammy. You are wonderful personified. There's really nothing better than frolicking in the rain. I'm so glad your mum was looking out the right window :)

Gibby said...

"You're looking out the wrong window..."

I LOVE THIS!!! Do you think your mom would mind if I borrowed it?