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Archive for July 28th, 2008

A Downpour

Monday, July 28th, 2008

A week ago Sunday, Brian and I were making our way home from Dulcimer fest via a family gathering near West Branch, Michigan. It’s a beautiful part of the state, much north of us and a bit east from the Dulcimer Fest but a worthy side trip on the way home.


Brian has a cousin who now lives in Ireland. She was back in Michigan so the family pulled together a group. This family is big. You can not believe the amount of chicken they grilled, corn on the cob they prepared, the works. They had a big house, a barn, a canopy over the food, a bonfire and a huge area with lots of chairs, a badminton court, all sorts of places to hang out with bunches of other people.


When we got there it was sunny and lovely. I took photos of the lake from up on the plateau where the house stands. We planned to camp in our tent on the grounds that night. And then the most unusual summer storm blew up out of nowhere. There was no thunder or lightning, but it poured buckets for what seemed like forever.


When the downpour came, we moved as many of the chairs as we could under the 10×10 canopy with the food and a few tables. I sat in a folding chair and watched the children enjoy the downpour. In the distance I saw the teenagers playing a new sort of badminton (huge “birdie” with a ball the size of a tennis ball, and stronger rackets to handle that side. They were mostly in swimsuits anyway (the site was on a lake) so they just kept on playing when the water hit.


But the ones to watch were the little ones. There were a good number of kids too young to go to school, and they were the most fun of all. At first a little girl maybe 6 years old ran out into the rain, face raised, arms out, almost flying in celebration of it all. Then a number of other kids joined in.

It did not take long for the ground to become waterlogged. I was wearing a lightweight cotton skirt over a pair of leggings. It turned out my feet were underwater in a puddle below my chair, and my skirt became waterlogged. I shed the skirt (thank goodness for the leggings) and took photos of the kids.


The younger ones found a low point in the ground where they ended up with a natural wading pool. There was much splashing and later someone found a tiny slide which they lined up next to this pool. At one point two of the littlest boys just shed their clothing entirely, I’m sure that was more comfortable than soggy cotton clothing.


The rain just kept on coming, so thick you could barely see out of the tent. At times the rain hit the canopy above me with such force that tiny water vapor bits came down on us. I had to clean off the lens of my camera several times.


When the rain finally subsided, we decided to give up on the camping idea. We drove home that night, getting home around midnight. It was actually lovely to sleep in our own bed again.

This is the sort of thing nobody will forget. Every person at this event will keep this one in the memory banks as “remember that time when…”