That is what my oldest daughter posted on Facebook this morning. She is a freshman at a small Baptist liberal arts college in East Texas. Today was the first day of significant rainfall since she arrived. Everyone brought their umbrella to class.
The reason she didn’t bring one is because she grew up in the Pacific Northwest. On Puget Sound, we knew how to spot the foreigner. It was the one who is carrying the umbrella. People in Western Washington do not avoid the rain–they plow through it.
She didn’t bring an umbrella because we don’t own any.
Here in the Texas Hill Country there has been a drought for the past three years. Rain has been scarce, but today, oh boy, today it has rained like a typical November day back in Port Orchard. My youngest daughter was planning to go the high school football game tonight, but when I picked her up she doubted her friends would go because they cancelled everything–the band, the dance, the cheerleaders, the concessions, everything because of the rain. Rain.
I distinctly remember watching Belle march in a monsoon with the South Kitsap band. Yeah. Different culture indeed.
How do the people respond to the rain where you live/grew up/used to work and so forth and so forth?
This morning as I was getting ready for work, my youngest daughter calls me from the school bus and says, “I forgot my binder. Can you bring it to me, everything for today is in it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!” Who can resist that, right? So, on the way to work I drop by Cedar Heights and leave the binder in the office. I told the kind woman at the desk, “This is for my daughter. She is in seventh grade, which means you will see me many, many more times dropping things off for her.”
Over the years my children have called for various things they have forgotten to be brought by the school. Here are the most common, “Daddy, please bring me…”
1. Lunch. My children forget their lunch far too often. I find this as a great surprise because all they ever want to do is eat. How can people who eat that much ever forget their lunch? It doesn’t make sense.
2. Forms. I don’t know what it is about children that causes them to procrastinate, but it seems like they wait until the last minute to turn in that form for whatever–a permission slip, a school picture form, a health document or whatever–but then they forget to bring it on that absolute last day it is due. Forms will be my ruin.
3. Schoolwork. This really starts happening in junior high and continues through high school. Schoolwork doesn’t seem to be that pressing in elementary. To my way of thinking, the key reason they often forget schoolwork is the ridiculous schedule they are on. I have yet to figure out how you can have 6th period first? Back in my day, we had the same classes everyday. It wasn’t until college that I first had a MWF then a TTH schedule. But South Kitsap doesn’t do either of those. I don’t know what their method is but it seems like my daughter could have math on Tuesday, then again on Friday and the following Monday but not again until Thursday. No wonder they don’t know what day homework is due.
4. Money. By money I don’t mean lunch money, I mean money for things. $30 for PE uniforms, $40 for a band field trip, $120 for ASB, $15 for homecoming tickets; there is always something they need money for. It often feels like the school is trying to bleed me dry. If I had more than 2 kids I would probably have to get a second job delivering pizzas just to get by.
Today is the first official day of summer and I feel like celebrating it. This celebratory mood might be brought on because the weather outside is summerish. This is in stark contrast to the weather over the weekend which was yuckish. The celebratory frame of mind might be brought on because last night I helped my daughter write a sonnet in iambic pentameter for her English class. Yep, that’s right, it’s the first day of summer and the students at South Kitsap High School are still in class doing meaningful, grade changing work.
To celebrate I put before you four splendid delights of summer.
Delight Number One: Fresh fruit and veggies. I like that I can buy a tomato in the middle of January; but I also recognize that tomato tastes awful because it was pulled green and then shipped green but was never vine ripened. In the summer one can buy vine ripened tomatoes, fresh cherries, and yummy beans. Eating a watermelon, outside, with a salt shaker and having the delicious juice run down your chin and neck is a delight that everyone should experience annually.
Delight Number Two: Vitamin D. Up here in the great Pacific Northwest we have so many slate gray days that the body does not produce enough vitamin D because there is not enough sunlight. I pound back fortified milk, but it does not produce the same feeling. When summer comes, I always feel better and have a greater sense of well-being. Vitamin D.
Delight Number Three: No lunches. That is not to say that I do not eat lunch; but during the summer the kids are out of school and I don’t have the constant morning hum-drum work of making lunches. Because I eat at home most days or in a delish restaurant I have variety. I always worry about my children because pretty much every day is the same sandwich, brownie, chips. As summer envelops us no more monotonous lunches for my precious girls and no more monotonous morning routine for their mommy and daddy.
Delight Number Four: Vacation. Now that my children are both old enough to enjoy travel we have developed a very solid family vacation tradition. This year we will travel by car again to the Southwest. I am looking forward to seeing the Anasazi cliff dwellings this year. The best part, though, is spending limitless time with my daughters and wife. Summer brings my family closer together.
I could enumerate many more delights; but this is enough to capture my celebration of summer.