It is Sunday and almost late afternoon. It was raining before sunrise,and it is still raining now. The rain is falling steadily, as it has all day. No one in these parts ought to complain as it has been a long while since we have had a rainy day-and besides, rain makes the loveliest sound.
I remember the older folks saying that when “rain fell straight. it was set in”-it always rings true, it seems. I knew early on, that I would cook today. I went to the grocery as everyone agreed with my decision. Of course, we started out with Lylas’ favorite “honey cakes”-which are pancakes with a good dose of vanilla, served with honey. I am cooking a peach cobbler now in the oven. Wills’ mom, Miss Claudia loves peaches and so she will have her peaches tonight in a golden crust, dusted with brown sugar. Turnips and potatoes are simmering in a pot, to be creamed later, then smothered in gravy. Peas and stringbeans are cooking as well. Later, I will fry chicken. I have always cooked on rainy days.
To country dwellers, rain means rest. When I first moved to the rabbit patch, we worked from dawn til dusk. We did not have a TV for a while and it didn’t matter one iota, as we wouldn’t have had the fortitude to watch it . We moved just before summer vacation, and there was a lot to do. The first day, we gathered fallen limbs and burned all day long. Then there were scattered bricks, tires and tin piles made. We started a collection of batteries. On and on it went til the territory could be mowed. It was a hard summer, and I went back to school with scratches and bites that year. It did not rain but an hour or so here and there. . .not enough to rest the weary.
In the autumn, there were leaves-a lot of leaves. Ten years ago, we raked-most every day, in the autumn. I would come home, sit my pocketbook on a stump near the drive, and we raked til dark. . .unless it rained. Now, the stump is gone and we mulch the leaves with the mower.
Growing up, in the country on a small farm, the event of rain changed things. Men would take to the tractor shelter to fix things. It is hard for me to know, just what went on, as I avoided the place like a plague. Nothing good ever came from me visiting that place. I was likely to knock something over or the dogs would. Several times, we children were blamed for losing a bolt or screw, that must have been the last one left in the world like it. We were bound to lose the farm on account of it-and there was always the grime that dependably got on shoes to be tracked in the house or ruin a perfectly good outfit. The tractor shelter, best remain a mystery, I thought. Besides, Mama and Grandmama did much more pleasant things when it rained. Often, they cooked a cake or pie. They also opened the chest in the “front bedroom” which was full of discarded clothes, shoes and pocketbooks. Delores and I played for hours pretending we were all grown up . . with children. Our dolls were sick, naughty and had birthdays, depending on our agenda. We went through the button box and sorted them. Back then, buttons were shaped like roses and violets-or they looked like real pearls. There was a lot of variety in the details and so I understand what “cute as a button” means. There was an old photograph box to go through and catalogs from places like Sears & Roebuck and Spiegel. . .and the World Book Encyclopedias, my favorites. If the rains lasted a few days, Grandmama made up stories to tell-many were tragedies that somehow ended miraculously, well. Mama, who is a very clear soprano, taught us songs. . .and I still remember them, today. It is no wonder, that I love rain.
Lyla watched it rain yesterday, from the porch. She painted pictures, til she needed a bath. We watched several ballet classes for three year olds, which Lyla loved. She did a fairly good job of mimicking-and eventually donned a tutu and held a wand, while she did so.
It was still raining at supper time, and with more force. It was windy and the temperature dropped til it was almost cold. Lyla fell asleep early.
Lyla was up before the morning broke. When the sun came up, it shone brilliantly over the village by the river. Today, for the first time in a long while, it is cold. What a clamor came from the yard! Robins and blue jays were every where and ever so often, a squirrel would scamper through with a large acorn in its’ mouth. It was a fantastic show and Lyla loved it!
After Lyla had her “honey cakes” we all gathered our warm clothing. We plan to visit Miss Claudia and will probably take a “Halloween Eve” stroll. I hope to see Miss Thelma and then I will return to the “rabbit patch” . . . over three rivers and past wood and field, through several small towns . . .under a very blue sky, while a cold wind blows.