SWooSH! The rain fell in buckets last Saturday when our family had just finished the last of the work in the yard. The day was painfully hot, and so humid it felt as if you could reach out and grab a piece of the air and squeeze water out of it. Everyone in the bunch, five in all, were tired and sore from the rigorous work that had been rushed due to the coming storm. Jacob, Hayley and Emily cheered as the warm rain the warm rain poured from the sky un-expectantly. The down-trodden faces instantly changed to playful gleams, and soon they were running and playing in the puddles and constant downpour. Their laughter was only halted by the momentary swipe across their faces to remove the water from their eyes. Todd and I watched on, standing nearby under an umbrella, cell phone camera in hand, just in case a “Kodak Moment” presented itself.
Sure enough, within minutes, they had organized themselves into the familiar formation of the actors from the movie classic, “Singing in the Rain”, and they began to sing and dance. “We’re singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling…. I’m happy again!” Earlier in the week, my students and I had noticed from the safety of the playground, that the City of Oakwood were busy trimming the branches away from the power lines, in preparation for winter. My students heard the constant grinding of the wood chipper, “RRRRRrrrr”, as the workers fed each branch into machine, and spit out the millions of pieces of shredded bark. I had explained to the kids that the city then puts the mulch over by Jackson EMC, and residents
can come with their own trucks or trailers, and get as much as they want for their yards. Sure enough, that Saturday I saw at least 20 piles of fresh mulch piled neatly in the empty lot near Jackson EMC. I pointed out to Todd they were there. “Maybe we should go hook up the trailer.”, I slyly said. “Why?” he asked. “Because that is FREE mulch! We could go home and get the trailer and get at least one load before it starts to rain.”, I exclaimed. Todd agreed, knowing how expensive mulch for the our yard is because it is so big. “Ok-that’s a good idea. With all five of us, it shouldn’t take long at all..”
We busily connected the trailer to the van when we got to the house, and the kids pitched in by getting shovels from the garage. In just a few minutes, we were on our way. The light sprinkle of rain that had already started was a welcome relief to the heat, as we began to load the mulch, one shovel at a time. Soon a system and rhythm appeared by the main “shovelers” – Jacob, Hayley and Todd. Emily and I quickly worked to move the mulch to the front of the trailer to be sure to fill it to the brim. The pine smell from last year’s Christmas trees donated to the city for recycling hung in the air. Soon, the trailer was full, and we were back at the house unloading the mulch into the yard. “That wasn’t so bad-it actually went quick since we were all helping!”, said Jacob. “Maybe we need to go get another load before it pours!” We all agreed, and after fixing a quick sandwich and cold drink, we headed back for our second load. As we got out of the van, we
heard thunder in the distance, and we quickly filled the trailer again and headed back to the house to unload our treasure. The rain still threatened to arrive, with even more thunder, quicker in replies to each other than before. We worked frantically to sweep out the trailer, and replace it to it place in the driveway before the rain appeared. Just as the last car was re-parked in its place, and the trailer unhooked and secured, rain dumped from the sky. This rain, that had teased us throughout the day, suddenly appeared as if the heavens were overflowing. The thunder ceased when the rain showed up, but it was truly “raining cats and dogs”. The ground was soaked in no time, and water soon formed puddles in the low places in the yard. So this is how it came to be that three kids, troupers for the duration of the Saturday work, suddenly found themselves soaked to the skin in rain, dancing and singing in the rain. As they formed their small troupe for their “official” version of the movie classic moment, I whispered to Todd, “This is what we’ve been waiting for. Let’s creep up
on them, and maybe we will get the picture of a lifetime!” The kids never noticed we were getting closer, so busy with their preparations for their Grand Finale. As they started to dance and sing once again, dripping in rain, I put my camera in place, my finger ready to snap the moment that I knew was to come. Todd whispered, “These are the days our memories are made of…”, . As I quickly looked up, I could see in his face that he was taking his own timeless picture in his memories, to hold until a time in the future when these three inspirations would be grown and watching children of their own. The kids were nearing the end of their performance, their voices singing above the drowning rain, and just when my attention came back to the present, they finished, and made their final pose with a complete sense of satisfaction on their faces as they looked up into the rain. “Click !” I snapped the button at just the right moment, resulting in a picture that speaks volumes: