A Memory

By Cecil Davis | April 19, 2024

Doug’s eyes snapped open and blinked in rapid succession to get his focus. He had been asleep, but not dreaming when his sleep was interrupted by multiple voices. They were his children playing. 

“Hey, what you guys doing?” he asked, his voice still sounding of sleep.”Playing,” the children answered one after the other.

“Can you guys play somewhere else?”

“Yes, daddy,” his daughter answered and both children ran out the room.

The den was warm and comfortable; his wife had started a fire inside the fireplace while he was asleep. The den, his favorite room in the house, was decorated in black and brown colors, full of antique furniture, an Oriental rug in the middle of the floor, paintings, and bookshelves lined with leather-bound first editions. Over the fireplace was a gun rack with three shotguns. On top of the fireplace were photographs of his mother and father, himself, his wife, and his two children.

Doug stood up to stretch. The antique clock between his parent’s vases on top of the fireplace read 7:50 pm. He was in the process of the final revision to his latest book which he needed to send the manuscript to his editor, when he dozed off.

A storm is coming: the icy sleet fell from the sky tapping on the windows and was getting stronger by the minute. The weather brought about many good memories of his

parents. As a child, he would sneak out into the rain to play and his mother would yell at him to get out of the rain: “Boy! Are you crazy, get out of the rain before you catch a cold!” He smiles thinking about what she said next, “Doug Winston,” she addressed him, using his full name to emphasize her demand, “don’t make me get wet coming after you. You know I will.” She would yell, then run out after him, getting herself soaking wet. She’d chase him in the rain for a minute or two, and then he let her catch him. When they entered the house, they would be soaked and dripping water everywhere. She’d hugged him, more like squeezed him.

The raining weather gave him some good memories but it also gave him his worst memories. The last time the weather was this bad, a knock on the door was to let them know that their parents were in a car accident.

The thunder was getting louder and the rain was starting to come down hard. Rushing out of the room, he ran upstairs to his daughter’s room.

“Charlotte put on your raincoat and boots.”

“Why? Where are we going?” she asked.

“Put them on and meet me downstairs.” He said excited. He went to his son’s room, “Jimmy, put on your raincoat and boots.”

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“Meet me downstairs.”

Entering the bedroom, his wife was sitting on top of the bed reading. “You up,” she smiles, placing the book on top of the bed, watching him put on his rain gear. “Where are you going at this time of night?”

“To play,” he said walking over to her gently grabbing her hands, “put on your raincoat and boots dear, hurry.” Easing her off the bed. Her resistance was light. She complied with his request and they both went downstairs where the children were waiting.

“Where are we going daddy?” Charlotte asked. “Yea, where are we going?” his wife asked.

“We are going outside to play in the rain,” he said. “Are you nuts?” His wife asked.

“Come on Jean, for one night let’s do something extraordinary,” he pleaded.

The children, eager to play in the rain, ran out the door, followed by him and his wife. He was providing his children with some memoirs of their own and at the same time, this is his way of honoring his mother. Letting her know that he remembers her and her relented effort to get him out of the rain and that he loves her deeply. He could hear his mother’s laughter and her voice telling him to have some fun with your family. Life is too short not too.

Watching his family playing in the rain he recalled reading Tara Westover. In her memoir “Educated,” she writes, “My strongest memory is not a memory, it’s something I imagined, then came to remember as if it had happened.” He smiled toward the Heaven and continued to horseplay with his family.