Summer Rains and Memories

Falling RainThe past two days we have had rain in Kansas City. Monday felt almost autumn-like – cool, with a steady rain that lasted all day. Tuesday was warmer, steamier, but still grey and dreary. I sat writing in my journal on Tuesday, the room dark, no sunshine streaming in my face as it does most summer mornings.

I should be grateful for the rain. The past month has been hot and dry. We own farmland near Kansas City, and the crops need the moisture.

But as a desert girl, I never like the rain.

The rain this week has brought back memories of rainy days during our summer vacations. Most of our family vacations were spent lakeside, as I have described before. Our days were usually bright, and only sunburn and fatigue sent us indoors. Without air conditioning in the cabins where we stayed, it was more comfortable outside.

Occasionally, however, it rained, and we were forced to spend the day inside. Games were fun for awhile, but we quickly grew bored when no other activities were possible. The cabins were not designed for lengthy spells indoors – too few chairs, lumpy sofas, and not enough bedrooms for privacy.

Priest Lake, photo from Wikipedia

Priest Lake on a cloudy day, photo from Wikipedia

One year, when I was in about the fifth grade, my family vacationed with another family on Priest Lake in Idaho. Our two families shared a cabin, and all the kids slept together upstairs in a single room.

The other family had a daughter a year older than me, and on one rainy day, she took it into her head to wash her hair in the rainwater. She asked if I wanted to wash mine as well.

The day was dank, and the rain looked cold to me. The idea of washing my hair in frigid water didn’t really appeal to me. But not wanting to be a spoilsport, I said, “Sure.”

We put all the pots and pans we could find outside to collect the rain. By late afternoon, we had about a gallon of water. Not enough for two hair-washings. I gladly let her go first.

I couldn’t tell that her hair looked any better for the rainwater rinse, but I kept my mouth shut. We still had several days left in the week to bunk together.

What memories do you have of rainy summer days?

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  1. A rain-water hair wash. Nice. Could be the next fad at salons?

    When I moved to Florida, summertime baffled me. Bright blue sky would turn grey, so dark the streetlights came on. Florida is the lightning capitol of the U.S. I once saw lightning strike a car in our driveway. A parent was dropping off my brother after a canceled little league game. The bolt hit the trunk of the car as my brother made it to the shelter of our front porch. Scared the crap out of me. I’ll take the rain. Just want the lightning.

    • We rarely had lightning when I was growing up in Eastern Washington. We could see it sometimes out in the hills, where it could start fires in the sagebrush. But we rarely saw it right along the river where I lived.
      Midwestern lightning is scary. I’ve never seen it hit a car, but it hit our house one spring night. Fried a computer and a TV, and blew the lightswitch plates off the wall.
      Thanks for reading,

  2. I don’t even remember rainy days growing up in Buffalo NY (although given the snow that I DO remember, there had to be rain in the summer!) But I do remember my mother’s terror, and her efforts to appear calm so as not to dismay my brother and me, when we moved to Kansas and experienced our first few Kansas thunderstorms.

  3. Lightning struck our house and blew a hole in the roof and started a fire, but the heavy rainfall put the fire out before the firemen got here. It blew the nails out of the studs and we had to have the nails replaced whole place re-mudded and painted. It also took out the neighbor’s TV with the same bolt. We were home at the time. The sound of it went through us like a giant base drum!

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