It's too bad that a rainy day has such a reputation for being the dismal times of our lives. It's true, there's nothing like the clarity of a bright sunny day, and nothing can beat the pleasure of sitting together with friends beneath a shade tree, sipping a glass of wine with friends in gentle conversation. But rain gives the earth the ability, and sunshine gives it motivation. We need them both.
As I search my memories, some unforgettable ones involve being out all day on a rainy day, with the rain running off of my hat, onto my neck, and down my back on the inside of my clothes, but I was too interested in what I was doing to give it much notice at the time. I guess being interested in life is one of the sweetest secrets of a happy life. People who complain of being bored, just haven't learned how to live yet. You've got to look beyond yourself.
When I was about 14 or so, I used to visit a friend of mine who lived on a local farm. One day, our adventures led us about 2 miles from his home, and we were caught in a downpour, complete with extremely ambitious lightening and thunder. We never for a second considered the horrendous lightening and thunder as having any threat to ourselves. To us it was one of the greatest shows one could see. We felt gloriously blessed to be there. We got completely drenched. We cut through fields of kneehigh grass getting even wetter to arrive at his grandmother's chicken farm after an hour or two of soaking up all the rain we could hold.
She was an old woman who lived alone, and financed herself by the eggs she sold. With bad hips, she swayed from side to side as she walked, but it didn't keep her from her duties. She had a pot-bellied wood stove in her parlor that warmed her house. I assume my friend's father helped her to keep a supply of wood. We sat by the stove to dry ourselves and granny cooked us some eggs on the top of the stove. Those fried eggs have never been surpassed in my entire life. I later told my mother how delicious those fried eggs were. She said that it was because they were fresh, and fried on the top of the pot-bellied stove. She said that it is always best to fry eggs over a low heat, and the top of the stove was just that. It's a lesson I never forgot when I attempt to fry an egg or two. Of course I doubt that I ever get any as fresh as those were. What a happy rainy day that was. It is etched in my mind like an oil painting by one of the masters. Perhaps, in retrospect, I'm so happy about it because I survived it.
I think the lesson of the day was the way we took events as they came, and rejoiced in them. We didn't judge them on how well they fit into our preconceived ideas of what the day should be. We just accepted what was and enjoyed it, eggs and all. This is what we need. We need to accept our fate in life. We need to take it, live with it, and do the best we can.
Life has a way of giving us a continuum of challenges. We must deal with them, or dismiss and gripe about them, whatever we choose to do. How we treat them depends on what kind of a person we are. Our opinions define our lives. We define ourselves by how we adjust to the vicissitudes of life. We necessarily have challenges in life, not necessarily privileges. Attempts to warp reality to suit our convenience have been the bane of defeat for civilizations for centuries. Like it or not, we must accept that there are realities of consequence to accompany our freedoms. Choices always have consequences. It is not beyond our ability, but simply a guide for our accomplishment. May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org