The house was small, just the east half of duplex. Nothing set it apart from any of the others lining the main street of a little coal mining town. But to me, it was more than a house. It was a little piece of heaven.
We would go there every summer—my brother and I—for summer vacation. There, we had toys to play with. Lincoln logs were my favorite. We spent hours trying to get the cat to come out of the rafters in the cellar. That old cat didn’t like us kids very much. We colored in old fashioned coloring books that had at one time belonged to our mother. Even though we weren’t supposed to, we raced in the hallway upstairs. Starting at the bedroom in front, we ran to the step, jumped off and landed like surfers on the carpet runner to see who could make it slide the farthest. Yeah, I cracked my tailbone that way. Every morning, we sat at the breakfast bar in the tiny kitchen on squeaky stools that went round and round until we were dizzy, waiting for a scrumptious surprise to be served by Grandma.
I remember many things about that house, like the way the door between Grandma’s room and the middle bedroom wouldn’t open because the house had settled so much it was stuck shut. I remember the scary cellar steps and the upstairs balcony we weren’t supposed to go out onto, but always did. I remember the closet full of my mother’s fancy ball gowns, and the crocheted doilies on the arms of the chairs and sofa in the front room. We weren’t allowed to play in there. I remember the pink and blue plates and the shiny purple cups we drank from. But what I remember most is the rain.
The house didn’t have AC, so to keep it cool, every evening Grandma opened the front door and the window beside it, and in back she opened the kitchen door and window over the sink. Summer breezes, filled with fresh scents of cut grass and rose bushes, would drift from one end of the house to the other. Even better were the dewy aromas that accompanied the rain—rain that crackled and popped on the porch roof in front, and tinkled and zinged on the big green awning in back. Those droning splatters were my music. They were the melodies we danced beneath and fell asleep to. They were the harmonies of peace and kindness. They were the symphonies conveying how precious we were to the one caring for us.
To this day summer rain compels me to open windows and doors. To stand in wonder and soak in the sounds and smells. To let memories wash over me. Apple dumplings and shoe fly pies. Snuggles and giggles and bedtime stories. Kittens and puppies and purple fingers from picking raspberries. Great big smiles of greeting and the voice of an angel saying, “Welcome home, little doll.”
My grandmother has been gone for many years, and still not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. And rain… it’s not just rain to me. Rain is and will always be the shower of Grandma’s endless love.