© Another Day in the Country
It happened while my cousin Keith was visiting from Colorado. He loves coming back to Ramona where he grew up. “It’s peaceful here,” he says, and I smile. Peaceful is always comparative.
Peaceful means different things to different people. And peaceful happens during different times of the day. It used to be peaceful here in Ramona for me, too. The slower pace in a small town was evident. A car would drive by once in a blue moon. There were only a few houses per block instead of wall-to-wall homes like in the city. My telephone that rang incessantly and my bills that came with urgent regularity were a long, long ways away and I was at peace.
That’s the way it is for my guests when they come to town. Peaceful. Quaint. Restful. And, that’s the way it is for Keith, so I let him enjoy his peace. We don’t talk about the things that stir up angry rumblings in town. I hope he doesn’t notice when several sheriff cars converge down the street because someone is fighting.
Keith gets up earlier than anyone does so he makes the coffee first thing. It is our custom, my cousins and I, to take a cup of coffee out to the front porch first thing in the morning, while everything is peaceful. We rock. We listen. We reminisce. We drink our coffee. We swing on the porch swing, sometimes we talk, and sometimes we’re just quiet.
On this particular morning, we heard a rumble far off across the prairie. We pricked up our ears. Was that thunder? There were gray clouds overhead but sunshine on the horizon. “Do you think it will rain?” Keith asked. I’d looked at the weather app on my handy-dandy-still-new-toy smart phone and said, “I don’t think it’s going to amount to anything.”
The rumbling got closer and closer. “It sounds like bowling balls rolling,” Keith said. “Can you hear it? There it starts rolling down the alley and now BANG, the lightning strikes.” I could hear it.
“To me, it sounds like kettle drums in an orchestra,” I said. “It starts out soft and then the drumming gets louder and louder and then WHAM, the cymbals crash.” The lightning flashed. It was quite a show.
Literally, we could hear the storm coming to us across the prairie, deep bass rumbling getting closer and closer, louder and more ferocious. A few raindrops splattered on the sidewalk. “I think it’s going to rain,” Keith said. I was skeptical. Then the rain started coming down in earnest, sheets of rain falling straight down.
It was delicious to be sitting under the broad porch eaves, completely protected from the rain, while all that water just fell from the sky.
“So much for no rain,” my cousin said with a grin.
We’ve always loved sitting on the porch in the rain.
“Remember how your mom would scold us about being outside in the rain?” I asked Keith.
“Remember the time we had to go down in the basement and wait out that tornado warning?” Keith said. “Remember when Alan was trying to get a picture of the lightning behind the Ramona House and Aunt Gertie and Aunt Frieda drove over and said, ‘You kids get out from under that tree and get into the house! It’s dangerous out here. You should know better.’ And we laughed at them. Remember?”
They are all gone now.
We’d been sitting on the porch, listening to the thunder rolling for quite some time, enjoying the show. The kettledrum parade was moving on by, the storm was passing and then suddenly the wind picked up, whooshing out of the west, driving the rain sideways, drenching us as we sat on the porch. We got up and started to move. It was another day in the country and time to go inside!