Friday June 26th was a beautiful day. In the afternoon the thunderheads billowed up in the blue sky. As I watched them I was transported back to the early 1950’s when I was living in Medicine Lodge.
As you know I spent every day, of the working week, with my Grandparents until I was 5. Grandfather had a huge garden and I spent quite a bit of time out there with him. That is until I asked too many questions and he’d send me to the house to help Grandmother.
While sitting in his garden on a bucket I would watch the thunderheads grow during the heat of the day. Even at 3 and 4, when I was with him in the garden, I could conjure up images in the clouds. My images were limited to my small memory bank but I could see dogs and cats and things in my normal life.
I would watch the clouds with anticipation, listening for a rumble of thunder. I loved thunder, it meant it was going to rain and that was fun time with Grandmother. With the first rumble of thunder I would bolt off the bucket and run to the house.
Once inside the house I would race by Grandmother (who was always in the kitchen) down the short hall into my bedroom. In the bedroom I’d pick out a couple Little Golden Books and race to the living room.
Grandmother usually knew what I wanted and would meet me in the living room. She would be sitting in the large rocking chair waiting for me. She had opened the front door so we could hear, see and smell the rain that was soon to follow.
I would climb up beside her and give her the books I wanted her to read. She’d wait until the rain started and then she would read me the books I had brought her. Once the books were finished I would take them back to the bedroom and put them on the shelf and she would go back to the kitchen to work.
After she went back to the kitchen I would bring my color book and colors out and climb back up in the chair so I could color while it was raining. Grandmother was not allowed to color in my color books because she colored hair strange colors; not the natural colors it is supposed to be.
I was always very careful to outline everything and stay in the lines when coloring. That was another reason Grandmother and some of my friends were not allowed to color in my books, they wouldn’t outline or stay in the lines.
If I had colored every page in my color book Grandmother would give me a paper doily. Those little designs would keep me busy for hours. There was a method to her madness and maybe a little payback for me not allowing her to color in my books.
In my teen years when I was staying with Grandmother, for my summer visit, I would still go outside and try to find shapes in the thunderheads when they started to billow up in the afternoon heat.
When I was at home I would watch the clouds with my friend Beckie. We would stretch out on the grass and point at the clouds and tell each other what the shapes were in the clouds.
There was lots of giggles and arguing as we picked out shapes, but we loved the times we were barefoot and sprawled out in the grass watching the thunderheads.
All too soon the fun would end and it would start to rain and we would both head home. Once inside the house I would revert to my old habit; I’d grab a book and curl up in a comfortable chair to read.
The rain made reading more enjoyable for some reason. But as a teenager it was not my Grandmother by my side in the chair but my cocker spaniel Brownie. Coloring books had been abandoned years before so now I would read and stroke Brownie’s head.
Brownie never minded the thunder and rain. Maybe it was the same for him as it had been with me and Grandmother. It was a special time for just the two of us to curl up in a chair and be together.
Sometimes on rainy days it was fun to make blanket forts in mom’s living room or my friend’s house. We used every card table and chair we could crowd into the room. Once everything was covered up we would crawl inside and ride out the storm in our own private world.
I still like to look for shapes in the clouds and to read when it is raining. Some things never change; thunderheads and rainy days will always be special to me. To contact Sandy: [email protected]