The glider on my Mamaw’s porch seemed old, even when it was brand new. I’m not sure anyone but her noticed when it arrived. She had a love for floral patterns that bordered on fanatical. A gaudy display of fake flowers spread out across every piece of furniture like Poison Oak. So too, the glider was covered. It fit in with the rest of the furniture from it’s very first day.
It was not a favorite piece for anyone but her, except when it rained. Then it was my favorite piece.
On rainy days, the sound of the drops on tin above my head was rhythmic and soothing. If I laid back and hung my leg off the glider just right, the tip of my big toe would scrape the porch floor, effortlessly creating a motion that seemed in perfect time with the water. Eyes closed, hands behind head, I would lay for as long as my cousins would allow and just drift away.
I spent my childhood summers in West Virginia. Rainy days in the Appalachian heat seemed magical and all too infrequent. They always brought a chill and calmed the frenetic pace of play and work. And they always signaled their arrival in advance.
You could hear the rain marching toward the house through the trees. My cousins would head to the basement, which was always cool, but I would invariably head to the glider. It was my transportation to an imaginary place that changed with each downpour. The rhythm triggered thoughts of what could be, of what could have been. They weren’t so much dreams as hopes. I would swing and hope – and pray.
I was a teenager then. I’m 45 now. That glider is long gone, and so are the innocent hopes and dreams of a child in it’s arms. But the memory of those moments make me smile and wish for a cool rain, a tin roof, a gaudy glider and some free time.