This post is out of nowhere and everywhere. It’s a life memory ingrained into my mind, heart and soul.
A few weeks ago we had a sudden shower just after I’d set out to go get a few things at the store. Since it really doesn’t rain intensely very often, I decided to ignore the lack of umbrella and keep going. I’d forgotten this photo in my camera and just retrieved it. I took it out the driver’s side window while at a stop light. The words “Rainbow, RAINBOW!” came to mind immediately. And while I didn’t utter the words out loud I thought them and an old memory popped to the surface like it was yesterday.
I remember driving to Chicago with my family. We’d gone to visit friends of the family that I no longer can recall. The radio was on while we were visiting and tornado warnings where announced. My Dad decided we needed to leave in order to beat the tornado, or we’d have to stay till very late. He had work (he owned his own business) and we had school so the latter wasn’t an option.
While driving home that afternoon, Dad was lost in his thoughts, concentrating on the road and the approaching storm. Mom was in her own world. My little bro looking out the window. Me, trying not to get carsick.
Unfortunately we didn’t beat the tornado. As we drove, the storm came up swiftly and did indeed form into a twister. Luckily it wasn’t touching down solidly and would let up a bit as it moved along, so we hit just the edge of its pummeling torrents of rain. Problem was, this still required pulling over due to total lack of visibility. Click here for tornado info in video form.
Luckily it passed very quickly and Dad got going as soon as he could see the road in front of us. As we came out of the worst of it, sunlight cut across our path and out of the blue my Mom blurted out “rainbow! RAINBOW!!” scaring my Dad half to death due to the strident pitch of her voice.
With great ferocity, he yelled at Mom “what the hell are you doing? I thought I hit something!” and so on. After his outburst he moved on to “the classic sulk” for the rest to the ride.
Poor Mom, she received such childlike delight from unexpected and magical gifts like rainbows. It was a quality she retained all her life despite my father’s more stoic approach. This is where I think I thought of the concept of moments of grace in one’s life.
To be fair to Dad, we has just come through the edge of a tornado which required pulling over due to the intense rain. Having to pull off to the side of the road worried him. It meant we could possibly pull over a bit too far and slide down into the gully, since he couldn’t see and it wasn’t a freeway or get hit by another car that couldn’t see us. No seat belts or air bags in those days and he’d see more than a few accidents where people were thrown through the windshield.
He was always intensely aware of the dangers in life especially where his family was concerned but it often came out as misdirected anger. I think that’s why “the sulk”, he was ashamed at how he reacted to something so inconsequential as excited words of happiness. He had yelled at the woman he adored and he was ashamed. Yes, my Father adored my mother till the day he died.
This saying by Roald Dahl reminds me of my Mom’s gift in life, “and above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” She never lost her childlike innocence and joy.
Whenever I see a rainbow I think of her and this memory. A memory taken down from the shelf of life, dusted off and relived…remembering the best parts…like their love. Hug someone tonight and tell them how much they mean to you. You may never get another chance. xox