I grew up in a rather primitive setting when compared to today's standard of living in the United States. My family of five lived in a small four room house with electricity and running water to the kitchen, but no indoor bathroom. That wasn't added to the home until I was eighteen years old. Just imagine camping every day for years. That was sort of what it was like. The house was warm and cozy, but it would have been nice to have more modern amenities. When thinking about a story to tell around the fireplace, I remembered the time my sister Debby and I played in the rain.
My youngest sister, Debby and I were closest in age and closest in mischief. We were always roaming the woods that surrounded our home. There were many days we would be gone for hours wading through creeks, climbing trees and exploring the terrain of the rocky hills on a farm across from us. In the warm months of the year we spent more time outdoors than indoors. It was perfectly natural to equate a summer rain with a chance to wash our hair.
I am not sure whose idea it was to run outside in a rainstorm with a bottle of shampoo. I am sure it didn't take any convincing to get the other sibling to join in. It was just the perfect day to take a shower. Of course we were fully clothed in shorts and t-shirts, but the falling rain felt delightful. We lathered up our hair with the shampoo and danced in the rain. There was so much freedom in embracing the moment of unrestrained joy. We giggled as we lifted our faces skyward to let the rain run down our cheeks.
This rain "shower" story is one my sister and I hold close to our hearts. We were both teenagers when we washed our hair in the rain, and were well aware of what that tiny house lacked as compared to our friends' houses. That day it didn't matter. It was a magical day of freedom and joy. Rain not only brought water to thirsty vegetation that day but brought water to the spirits of two sisters to help them grow a memory.
Photograph: Murray Mitchell
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