Noah lived with rain for forty days and nights. It feels that way here at Lazy Bee Farm today. We have had so much rain that the does are cross. The chickens, while in their snug coop with a heat light, are fussing. Moose and Annabell are on the porch, leaving to chase the occasional car or truck. Don and I weren't sure we could even get out of the holler to get to the hard top. In short, the ducks are the only folks happy.
Rainy days make me think about when I was a small girl. Mother always worked the 3-11 shift at Baptist Hospital and Daddy worked down on Cherry Street from 8-5. Mrs. Tucker, our next door neighbor, always kept us between school and Daddy coming home because Mother had to leave to walk to work at 2:00. Rainy days were so much fun at Mrs. Tucker's because, well, it wasn't home!
Mrs. Tucker was a round little lady, just about my height when I was seven years old. She always wore an apron and seemed to be in perpetual motion either cooking, making those wonderful trapunto pictures of deer or some other outdoor scene, or smocking. Mr. Tucker was a police officer, but he was usually home by the time we came from school. He'd be in the basement either doing some kind of woodwork or playing, er, working on his train set.
The train set was wonderful! It filled the entire front half of the basement. Villages, trees, tunnels, roads, and even a postman filled the scene where the train would fly past on its way around the huge train board. Mr. Tucker was always doing something on the scene -- adding a tree or rearranging a town or painting something a newer, brighter colour. I could stand and watch him for hours!
But is one particular rainy day that really sticks out to me.
Mrs. Tucker had taken in sewing and worked to save enough money to get her entire living room recarpeted. The day finally came when she had the new carpet laid. Oh my goodness, it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. The creme background accented the lovely roses that were strewn about the carpet. Ranging from a pastel pink to a deep blush, the roses were in full or partial bloom. Some were fully coloured, but others were only outlined. In my mind, it was a shame that all the roses were not fully coloured.
Poor Mrs. Tucker; she couldn't afford to have the full colour, I decided. As I sat with my marker set colouring, I kept pondering those roses. They just didn't look right. I studied the colours in my set and figured out that if I were to mix the red with the white, I could come close to the same rose on the carpet. I even tried a sample on a piece of paper to be sure that it would work. It did.
I slipped between the sofa and the coffee table and selected the first rose to be finished. I was thrilled to think that I could surprise Mrs. Tucker with such a perfect gift. I loved her so and wanted to make her carpet complete. I settled on my rose and begain to colour. It was just right! I moved on to the next one. Another perfect rose! By the time I was on my fifth rose, Mrs. Tucker came to see what I was doing.
Expecting her to be pleased, I jumped up and shouted, "Surprise!"
She didn't yell. She didn't cry. She stood there, looking at the floor, the marker and me. Finally, she took a very deep breath and whispered, "Sit in the chair by the door and wait on your Daddy." Then she turned around and went to the kitchen to get a rag and something to scrub the floor. Nothing would take the full marker out. I guess it was there until she died or replaced the rug.
But, I do remember this. When Daddy got there, it was raining. Mrs. Tucker took him on the porch, told him what happened, and then came back in the house. You have had to have experienced the fear that comes from facing a 6-foot 4-inch man who has worked all day and is tired and hungry to understand how I felt. Total fear. He lifted me up, Mrs. Tucker patted my back, and Daddy carried me home. I was certain I was going to die. But, all he did was tell me, "Never use markers on anything but paper again." No yelling, no spanking. Just a simple warning.
That's my Daddy. A huge man with a huge heart and a huge temper when provoked. Veteran. Gentleman. Loving. Understanding. Could anyone hope for more?