Saturday, October 12, 2013

Moving Polaroids - Falling Like Rain

I once wrote a series of blog entries called Moving Polaroids. They were some of my most popular blog posts and I've been meaning to get back to them but life and time and... well... everything else just seemed to keep getting in the way. 

They were simple blogs about some favorite memories of my childhood and how they may have shaped me. Or not. Some were only what they were... good memories of better times.

Recently I was in a discussion about earliest memories.

I have a fleeting memory - my earliest one - that my mother has argued in the past, that I can't possibly remember, is one of me around three years old, crawling peek-a-boo from beneath a blanket. But I mildly digress.

My earliest "real" memory is of me in the first house I lived in as a child, in Sparks, Maryland. It was an old house, prone to cold drafts and wrapped in gray, weathered siding with beautiful wooden details inside. There was a thin, marshy stream behind the house that attracted swamp rats larger than most small dogs. 

Though it had plumbing inside, there was also an old outhouse on the property (where my father {and I say this because I love him dearly, not to pick on him} drunkenly passed out one night. Why he was even in the outhouse instead of inside the real house is still up for debate). 

My earliest memory is of standing on the front porch of that house. At the time, my parents were working different shifts for their jobs. My father would take me in my pajamas in the morning to a gravel parking lot to meet my mother, on her way off of work, and I'd get out of his car and into hers, go back home and the day would start its cycle all over as my father went onto work. It was a situation a lot of young couples find themselves in, and though I'm sure it was tough, somehow they made it work.

At some point, for some reason, my parents were both at the house in the morning at the same time and my father was headed off to work. It was drizzling a light rain that morning and my father had stepped out onto the porch and set his empty coffee cup down on the porch railing, taking his last drink before heading to his car.

I can still remember that mug. It was a big-ass ol' 70's style coffee mug. Dark, chocolate brown with a drippy looking top edge and felt like it weighed 5 lbs. I picked it up as my parents talked to each other and tried to catch rain water in it. I don't remember what was on my pajamas... only that they felt soft and flannelly to me. 

I remember the weathered gray wood of the porch. The earthy but not unpleasant smell of the marsh behind the house, and the sound of the stream, burbling louder because it had swelled a bit from the rain. 

The gray siding on the house was catching the rain. Near the tin roof, it had dripped to make it appear as if the rooftop was weeping. 

Cars drove by the front of the house - people on their morning commute - spraying a fine mist over the front yard, the static noise of them as they drove by.

I held my father's coffee cup out and caught rain drops in it... taking a sip when I could. The water tasted sweet and fresh and... pure. Clean.

I kept sipping the rain falling from the skies overhead until my mother noticed and told me to stop drinking the rain. I suppose she may have thought I was catching it from the rain dripping from the tin roof and didn't want me drinking dirty water.

My parents talked a bit more, briefly, and my father drove off to work and I was shepherded back inside to morning cartoons.

I think back to that memory often. 

Not a lot of pure things in my life right now. My stone walls are a mess. My garden has a lot of weeds in it.

My children... they're probably the purest thing, though my daughter is a young woman now and changing. The dynamics of our relationship are changing and though I realize that's inevitable, she still makes it a point to tell me she loves me as I do the same for her.

My son... he's on his way to being a young man. He's got a sense of humor I can't deny is my fault or my gift, I'm unsure of which yet.

I have friendships that are pure. My brothers... though even those relationships have been affected by time and distance and... life. 

I think back to that early memory - more than thirty-five years ago - and I wonder if the falling rain still tastes as pure and untainted as it did back then.

Will it ever again?


Blogger Unknown said...

Never knew this. Even as close as we were, like brother and sister, I never knew this memory. Love it.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very beautiful memory. I enjoyed reading it. I love the appreciation you have for your mother and father. I'm actually a little jealous that you have such a wonderful memory of your life events.

I also love the title. :)

6:33 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Thank you. =)

6:37 AM  

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