Off North Road : Walkin' in the rain
That day, the evening sky looked wind-blown, gray and promised rain. Forecasts of 90 degrees seemed unbelievable as the mild after-breaths of air stirred the bedroom curtains. Morning made good Channel 7's forecast of rain but weather remained cool, and a pure mist turned all outside dripping-damp. Ticker paced between my breakfast and back door. Her familiar restlessness demanded an outside airing despite the wet. I pulled on my slickers hoping the pants would give one more summer before I fork over a couple hundred bucks to buy a fashionable suit of water-proof gear, probably bright yellow to reflect light in blue water off a boat. Little chance, I think, for I am no sailor, and I get bored and slightly nauseated beyond the jetties of Vineyard Haven Harbor. I want nothing more for the day than a large breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast, juice, and coffee, and the inevitable Colace to keep the inner drums rolling. "Old age is not for sissies," I say. Years ago, Mother admonished, "Don't talk to me about the golden years!"
Part of me delights in telling friends or strangers how old I am. It is so much healthier to reach a ripe old age than not. Yet ... there are times when my "forgettery" is in ascendancy and I would misplace my dentures if they were not still naturally and solidly attached to my jawbones. "Where is the book I loaned you yesterday to read along with me?" Mary Ann asked as we unpacked from our return to Menemsha after our six months in Vineyard Haven. We looked again through all the empty boxes for "The Kite Runner" who must have picked up his book and run away. Several hours later, Mary Ann found him on the bedside table in the bedroom (my side of the bed). MA was kind and offered to find a copy of Hosseini's next book to share.
Those clouds coming up from New Bedford and Buzzards Bay bring a steady rain and Ticker and I get a good soaking as we pass around West Chop on our last walk for this season while in Vineyard Haven. Fortunately my slickers hold and they'll be wrapped away for another day. The sound of rain is rather comforting when it falls without a lot of wind. The patter of drops on leaves sets up a steady hum as the volume increases and leaves fall in abundance covering the ground with a slippery coat. As we walk we share the revival of dry earth; the harbinger of spring flowers and trees, once again guaranteed. Every once in a while, Ticker gives a vigorous shake, which starts at her ears and progresses through to her tail. A mini-shower sends a spray as she relaxes and resumes her steady stride. The companionship of a dog on a walk like this is understood by both man and beast. Although Ticker's movements don't show any particular affection, she is tuned into every change in pace, twist or turn in direction. She interrupts progress with a sudden pull to the side in order to sniff out some delicacy, a little to her companion's irritation, but it is understood as one of the habits of a dog. Ticker is accustomed to my sing-song, a steady patter of conversation which tells Ticker I am still with her if the tug on the leash is not enough reassurance. Passing cars increase in number as the morning develops and an added hissing noise joins the rest. We stop at each minor intersection and play the "stop and sit" routine just in case a motorist or walker doesn't give way. When the maneuver is executed without fault, passersby must think what a clever dog and owner these two must be. As the walk draws near to home, we enter a sandy lane and this day and others I am reminded of an old popular song my dad and I often played on the piano, which seems just the right song to sing along the rest of the way home. "Take me where the daisies cover the country lane. We'll make hay while the sun shines; we'll make love when it rains. From the hustle and the bustle of the city, we'll become a pair of country folks, in a little cottage sitting pretty; we'll be Mr. and Mrs. Doakes." The third verse doesn't come to me and I repeat the first one two or three times until I think I would sound a little silly if someone were nearby. We arrive home to the cottage and we are Mr. and Mrs. Doakes sitting pretty, or so I think this day, whether it be wet or dry.
References: "International Lyrics. American, European."
"We'll Make Hay while the Sun Shines," from the film "Going Hollywood" 1933, Nacia Herb Brown, Arthur Freed, Bing Crosby (Film Sound Track) 1933, Billy Merrin and His Commanders (vocal Sam Browne)