Rain, Courage & My Dad
The sound and smell of rain is wrapped around my sense of home and waist harness, and my dad loved the rain more than most things.
I remember him sitting out on the porch on Fieldbrook Court during a rainstorm when I was small. These storms in Alabama were the kind that shook the rafters and struck thunder so loud it popped from deep underneath. He would open all the windows and doors in anticipation of the weather coming, and lean back on a wooden chair to talk to the storm. I would watch him while he watched the rain roll in. I was afraid of it, and he was made more alive by it. He would lean back in the chair and lift his arms up, long hair sliding back. Mama always thought he looked like Michael Landon when he was young. I loved him dearly and I wanted to love all the things he loved. One day I decided to practice cutting a brave, new pattern. I put on my boots and tiny rain jacket at 5 years old, and mounted my bicycle. I left dad on the creaky porch and I entered the sheets of rain and pedaled into the dead end circle in front of our house. He watched and I rode. Around and around and around, until I was bone soaked and less afraid. I practiced the fear right out of my little body, and I cupped the trophy in my hands and recognized the weight of it. I survived the rainstorm by surrendering to it, and even began to like it a little. Today, sitting on the porch during a rare Denver rainstorm is one of my favorite things. I talk to my dad and wish him right next to me in a wooden rocker. If our loved ones come in and visit, that is when he comes, during a rainstorm that shakes the house. It’s a funny thing to pass down stormy weather, but I want to teach Otis to love the rain. To me, it will be like teaching him to love his grandfather.