When it rains, it rains | News, Sports, Jobs
A month ago we gardeners complained about the drought. Be careful what you want. Shakespeare has best described the past few weeks: “For the rain, it rains every day. “
I know with good authority that Will never made it to western Pennsylvania or New York. But let’s face it, he was an Englishman, and they know something about rain from the first day they walk outside. We’re not used to so many flood days.
The rain seriously hampered our annual summer family visit. Initially the weather behaved well and produced a glorious fourth for the parade. Even an extended family picnic the next day was perfect. But Mother Nature is fickle and spoiling our vacation schedule was on her radar.
In addition to the parade, we always plan a few days at the pool, an event in Chautauqua, a mini-golf outing with the family and one or two hikes. In addition to familiar places to eat and ice cream forays, we often explore a new destination. The four Bostonians – my daughter and her family – jog or briskly walk almost every day, working out grandma’s ice cream and the occasional treat. Hey, I can’t be held responsible for a little mess. It’s in my job description.
My son arrived from Annapolis with his usual sidekick, Walter, a 100 pound Labrador Retriever. When they’re not exploring the woods together, Walter parks between the kitchen sink and the island, still hoping for a fallen piece. My floor is clean while Walter is in residence, but cooking with him under his feet is dangerous. He’s a gentle beast, even if the cat doesn’t agree.
The Massachusetts contingent always arrives in their packed family van. Car booster seats are a thing of the past – suddenly kids are normal-sized people. Naturally, the contents of the van no longer include Tub Toys, Pampers, or Water Guns. The shipment now includes electronics, computers, cell phones, headphones and the corresponding chargers. The large bag of books is now completed with a variety of board games.
Despite the reduction in the size of electronic equipment, packaging the van remains a formidable challenge. The common joke is that my daughter, Alix, has the packing and loading gene. It’s in his DNA. She can find a place in a vehicle that the average person can’t: “Do you think this car is full?
Move that soccer ball up, flip the bigger suitcase over and slide those skis down the middle. Or something similar. The latest travel challenge is more demanding than ever. Malcolm, now 13, plays the double bass.
Since being selected for the Boston Youth Symphony, wherever Malcolm goes for more than a few days, his double bass goes too. Malcolm is 5 feet 8 inches tall and so is his bass. Of course, when traveling in the back of a pickup truck it is almost 6 feet LONG – and this is where the problem lies: the strings, fingerboard and most importantly the bridge of the instrument need to be protected. . Its canvas case only protects the finish. Damn it. Who knew? And how does it all fit between suitcases, coolers, tote bags and tanned legs in flip flops? And don’t forget the bow box.
Alix had her work cut out for her. She devised a magical attachment system for the third row seat belts, some of which were suspended. I was impressed that it all came together and the bass sort of floated in its own space.
It was a pleasure to have the bassist here in residence. During the rain most of the afternoon, I usually cooked supper in the kitchen. Suddenly the rich and mellow tones would start in the living room. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wouldn’t be hearing memorable melodies because the bass mostly plays… well, the bassline. Malcolm, who practices without being reminded, played his scales and sheet music at a gentle rhythm that I was looking forward to – a soothing accompaniment to my afternoon.
Although the family held their annual putt-putt tournament between the raindrops, our usual outings have been replaced by indoor activities. While it was raining we played euchre – sometimes adults against children, sometimes the vicious version with only three players. We played table games and watched the first rounds of Wimbledon while the boys played tactical war games spread out on the dining room table.
Unfortunately, our normal summer meals in the open air were few. Yeah, even when they left for home it was raining. Since I didn’t spend time watering the garden, I wash the numerous loads of sheets and towels in record time.
As I write these lines, it is raining. Again. And the forecasts until Friday are – surprise! – rain. My north side is growing moss.
Marcy O’Brien lives in Warren, PA with her husband, Richard, and Finian, their handsome Maine Coon cat. Marcy can be contacted at [email protected]