Half a Notion

Are You Tired of the Rain?

by Midge Houghtaling

Are you tired of all this rain?  To be honest, so am I.  I try not to say much about it, though— puts me in mind of a stretch of rain that we had here back in ‘03…

Every day for three solid weeks it rained.  It poured and it drizzled on baseball games, class reunions, camp fires, backyard barbeques and family picnics.  Everywhere you went someone had something to say about the inclement weather.  There was talk of building an ark, and others said that it was “nice weather… for ducks.”   It was nearing the end August and summer was fading fast.

My son was not only tired of the rain, but worried that it would mess up his weekend.  Mark, and his longtime friend, Mike, would soon be leaving for different colleges.  For several days, they had been planning to build a small bonfire in the backyard.

By Friday afternoon, it looked like they just might get a break.  The sky was gray.  The air was humid and thick.  Our yard was like a soggy wet sponge that made squishy noises when you walked on it.  But, at least, it was NOT raining.  The bonfire was on.  They located a few almost dry logs, dug out a fire pit and coerced me into buying their favorite snacks.

As his friend carried logs to the fire pit, Mark grabbed the gasoline container from the garage.  He poured gasoline on the logs; then he poured some into an empty coffee can and struck the match.  The fire blazed brightly then dwindled.  He leaned in with the gasoline-filled can to add some incentive to the flame.  As the liquid made contact, the fire puffed in his face.  Startled he fell backwards spilling the entire contents of the can over his body.

Instantly the flames ignited.  His friend would later tell us, “He was a ball of fire.” Panicked, Mark’s first instinct was to run out of the fire—not realizing that he was the fire.  A moment later, rational thought and his kindergarten training kicked in.  He remembered to stop, drop and roll in the soggy grass.  When he sat up, the flesh on his right leg was still burning.  He patted out the flames, kicked off his shoe and watched in amazement as it blazed.

An hour later the two of them were sitting around the campfire reminiscing while Mark held ice packs on his leg.  He had first degree burns on his arms and face, second degree burns on his ankle and a small third degree burn on his leg.  It could have been so much worse.

After dropping his gasoline soaked T-shirt and shorts into the washing machine, I called my sister to ask if she thought the smell would come out and I heard myself saying something incredible…  “I sure am glad that we’ve had all this rain,” I told her.

The next day it rained again.  I don’t know why, but I simply could not bring myself to fuss about it.  They say that into each one’s life some rain must fall, so I suppose it must.  Maybe someone somewhere needs it, or maybe I need it more than I could ever know.

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  1. Barbara J Cole says:

    Your a Great Writer .. Loved it. Barbara Jean

  2. Peachesz Zukowski says:

    Nice story.well done

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