House arrest

 

By Joe Rector

I hope that everyone has survived another soggy February. It was only a year ago that the rains inundated the area and left us struggling to dodge standing water puddles and pray that roof leaks didn’t suddenly appear. I, for one, have never done well handling being trapped inside.

When Jim and I were little boys, we’d pout the day away when rain came. In summers, we’d stand on the front porch and watch the water pour from the sky, at least until a bolt of lightning streaked across a summer sky. We would hang around inside and try to find things to keep us busy. Lincoln Logs presented chances for us to test our creative abilities, but neither of us was destined to be architects or house builders. We’d erect crude structures and then push toy cars around them as if they were our homes.

We tried board games and cards. Monopoly took too long to complete. A game of checkers might have interested some children, but Jim and I were sore losers; one of us would eventually sweep an arm across the board and send red and black circles flying across the floor. Card games ended in one of us declaring the other a cheater or quickly losing interest in playing.

Television wasn’t much help either. Sure, “Birthday Dog”, “Romper Room,” and “Doctor Bernie” aired in the mornings, but back in the 1950s and 60s, the afternoon programming consisted of two channels of soap operas or game shows. If we’d have been able to receive the ABC signal, even more of those programs were available. Children could only take so much of Bill Cullen and Bob Barker.

The rain put an end to the limited activities to which we looked forward. Our Ball Camp community baseball team played only a half dozen games at the elementary school in Karns. A rain shower turned a cinder-filled field into a watery mess and kept us trapped in the house.

On occasion, Mother planned trips to the pool at Concord with another family. A day of relief from summer heat was always welcome, and a pool sure beat running through a water sprinkler or hose sprayer. Excitement turned into disappointment when the sun revealed morning skies filled with gray, sometimes ominous-looking clouds that were accompanied with downpours of rain. The only way we had to get wet on those days was to stand in the rain in our front yard, something that lacked the fun offered at the pool.

I’m still an “antsy” person, even in my senior years. I don’t like being trapped inside by weather. The rain is the worst. Snow still lets me burn piles of brush that accumulate over the year. Rain just makes everything yucky. I sit in the house, and although nearly a hundred channels are available, I can’t find anything to watch. I can peck on the computer (as I am doing on this nasty day), but my creative juices eventually dry up or my hands begin to ache from all the typing.

We’ve had precious little winter weather this year, and although I don’t do cold that well, I know this summer the bugs and pests will be even more prolific. It’s the rain that wears me out. Even if temperatures are moderate this time of year, I can’t enjoy them with the flooding streets and squishy, shoe-swallowing soil. Nope, I’m stuck until the skies clear.

Some optimists will say that I should welcome the rain because it will help the water table, or they’ll scold me and tell me I’ll wish for the rain during the dry days of summer. I do appreciate the water table level, I hope we don’t have a drought. However, when the daily weather forecasts include rain for weeks on end, I grow more than a little grumpy. I’m ready for the sun to show its face for a while. Until then, I’m under house arrest.

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