I’ve always liked rainy days, and perhaps for that reason they trigger pleasant memories in my advancing years. Today is one of those rainy days, in fact one of many such recent days in North Carolina. So I reminisce . . . .
I remember Kansas mud and the pleasure of it squeezing between the toes of a barefoot boy–all except one time when I was showing off out in the barn yard during a thunder storm. I was boldly braving the lightning when my foot caught on a piece of barbed wire. Bravado turned to crying and embarrassment.
Rainy nights were the greatest for snug sleeping. Our upstairs bedroom with its tin roof let me hear the patter of each rain drop. It was a pleasant, soothing sound never to be forgotten, and often called to mind as rain beats on our tin roof today.
There were those days when the downpours stopped regular outdoor work, and the family could go to Atchison on business, to deliver eggs to market and do necessary shopping. Or there was the trip to Leavenworth to get baby chicks. Our family car was an open touring Chevolet. We got caught in a down pour near Leavenworth, and Dad had to get out of the car, lift the front seat cushion, take out the side curtains and snap them in place. He was drenched like a “rat.” Our first enclosed car was an exciting event in our family.
Of course, the unpaved, muddy roads created their own problems. I remember having to get out with other family members to help them push the car over the hill. Or hitting deep ruts full of water in -front of Uncle Edwin’s home, the hazard that finally caused our old Chevy to overheat and never run again. Then there was the slimy job of digging out clay mud that gathered between wheel and fender.
A memorable time of father-son camaraderie was a soaking spring day in the corn crib with the rain drumming on the tin roof. We sorted out the best ears, saved the larger kernels of the ear and shelled them for seed corn.
One of the least enjoyable jobs was going to bring the cows to the barn for milking when the rain storm would not let up. Once when Dad went with Charles and me on such a day, we could not cross the creek to get the cows. A severe thunderstorm increased as we came home. Dad fell, and we feared he was hit by lightening, as it flashed on every side. As we got just a few yards from the house, I reached for a wire to cross the fence. Lightning struck and I received an electric shock, but fortunately nothing serious.
Dad’s “rainy day jobs” sometimes disappointed us boys, but they were necessary if farming was to be done on good days. There were days when we repaired horse harnesses. Chicken houses had to be cleaned occasionally–a dusty job we thoroughly disliked. Or livestock sheds were to be cleaned. There was never a lack of things to be done.
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