Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rainy day brings back memories

It started raining this afternoon first as a drizzle. As the afternoon progressed, the rain increased to a steady heavier drizzle. It was nice. Our lawns and flowers will benefit.

It's dreary rainy days like these I think back to when I was a little girl. Even though my brother and I would rather be playing outside, we didn't mind being called in when it rained. Mom would grab the deck of Bicycle cards that were on the window sill in the ready for the next rain. She took the table cloth off grandma's wooden kitchen table. We knew then the fun would began as mom, John, and I would play Go Fish, War, or Rummy with her sitting at the end of the table. 

I usually sat with my back to the open window that looks out onto the back yard and the end of the driveway. I didn't get wet sitting at the window because there was no wind to push the drops through the screen; most of the time, our storms weren't really heavy or severe like we are accustomed to today. There was always a cool fresh air coming through the opening. Sometimes I could smell freshly cut grass, or the scent of lilacs wafting through the window.

Birds would be chirping from an old tree near the house. The distinct song of a robin sounded loud and clear. Mom would say he's calling for rain. As the rain fell, we kept track of the amount of water filling the puddle's spot at the end of the driveway. Our future fun that day would increase as the puddle expanded with the rain fall. Later as the rain came to an end, the robin would chirp again, loud and clear. It was a little different song maybe he was saying - the rain is over. When the robin gave the all clear, we knew it was safe to go out and run through the mud puddles!

During those card days mom taught us how to shuffle the deck or the best thing – fan the cards into a twirling stack. We weren't very good at either because our hands were too small, especially mine. Did you ever play 52 Pickup? I usually was the one picking up! 

As we grew older, we did become somewhat proficient at shuffling and dealing, and the card games changed; we graduated to Michigan Rummy with the board and all the rules. Never did learn them properly. I learned how to count my cards for my score, too, but mom would do the math for the scorekeeping. We also played "Authors." I became interested in some of the books those authors wrote and read a couple of them later on. I never liked Bridge and couldn't concentrate well enough to continue playing. I liked Canasta, but had a hard time holding on to all those cards...my hands were still small. 

Pinochle was my game. It was a fast game; I also liked to move the pegs on the board. Sometimes dad would join in if he was home. Or mom's sister Florence would play, too, if she were visiting at the time of our rainy-day card games. Aunt Florence was a serious player and probably the best player I knew (at the time). Mom was good, too, but I never achieved mom's level. Who cared, we had fun on those rainy days. 

Poker or Blackjack upset me; I could never pick the right cards to discard or to play. I never figured it out and still don't 60 some years later! Why would anyone want to get hit? I always laughed at the sound of Royal Flush, too, never thinking about cards at that point. Why would anyone call something that?

There was a lot of laughing during our card game. I was too small to sit properly at the table and so often I would almost have to climb onto the table to take my turn. My arms and tummy ached from hanging onto the table as I placed a card on the discard pile in the middle of the table. A couple times I remember slipping off the table bumping my chin much to the amusement of my brother. 

All in all, it was fun just playing. I won my share of those games and never got mad if I lost – a little disappointed maybe, never mad. My dad always said, it isn't the winning that counts most, it's playing the game by the rules and to my best to my ability. I still go by that in so many ways as an adult.

I kind of miss those days. Today I was sitting at my kitchen table having a cup of coffee as the rain started. Our back door was open and the rain was pitter-patting on our porch. A wisp of wind brought that familiar smell of newly cut grass and flowering bushes again wafting over the table like it did so many years ago in mom's kitchen. Funny, I heard a robin chirping outside in the neighbor's tree...I thought of mom and those rainy days long gone...he was calling for rain.

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