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Friday, 20 April 2012

The Rain

By Lia Hirtz

It has been sunny and very hot all day and now the air is heavy with moisture. The sun has sneaked behind a menacing, dark cloud but I know it’s there because it’s hard to breathe as it slowly melts the clouds above.

I am playing house under the coffee tree full of dark red beans. I am six years old with long braids and crooked teeth. I live with my parents, three aunts and my cousin. We live happily with my grandmother in her old adobe house in a small town in Mexico.

“It’s going to rain in a little while,” my all-knowing grandmother says. “We better get the clothes off the lines and bring in the jerky from the roof. I wonder if the cats have gotten to it – Maaarrrriiiiaaaaa!” she screams. “You better watch your damned cats! I bet they’ve eaten the jerky!”

My aunt, Maria, defends her cats and says she already fed them liver and they wouldn’t touch the tough jerky anyway.

Then violently, without any further threats, the rain erupts like a mighty upside down volcano. Sharp and searing, the sky spews its load on the tender earth. My mother calls for me to go inside.

It’s a downpour and my aunt Maria is scared out of her mind. She grabs the jar with the holy water that she keeps by her bed, she interlaces a rosary in her pretty hands and begins her supplications as she dips her fingers in the water and furiously shakes the blessed droplets around the doors of the house.

She begs Jesus to stop the thunder because it scares her and the cats. She begs Mother Mary to stop the rain before we all drown in its fury.

Then, just as quickly as it began, the rain stops and the sun inhales the plumes of vapor back into the sky.

The water runs like rivers in the streets. The toads burst forth from all directions to entice the bright green lady frogs. Their neck pouches inflate in a flirtatious rhythm. The frogs look dumb as they aimlessly jump as if the rain has hit them on the head a bit too hard.

The toads move in and right there on the street, in the back yard, in our living room, there is romance. Everywhere you look, the amorous ritual continues until Maria squashes down a pair with a broom or a car runs them down on the street where they will remain conjoined forever in their last love dance. Then they bloat, explode and eventually dry out and disappear because nobody bothers to pick them up when they’re dead.

Unperturbed, I sink my bare feet into the running water gushing down the street. I see the bread man go by on his bicycle balancing a basket full of sweet bread on his head.

In a little while, I will ask my grandma for 20 cents and run to buy a piece of sweet bread and devour it with zest.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Wow! What imagery of life and death! Such details. Well done and thanks for sharing.

This morning it is raining in Seattle, but there is no way to imagine your remembered visions of a rainy day; we have no thunder, no loving toads no swirling water in the streets. Oh what a joy to learn about other's lives in such a well written tale. Thanks so much/

You are a very gifted writer, using unique analogies throughout. You used a simple childhood memory as a framework to hang your delightful metaphors out to dry. Write more, can't wait!!

What a pleasure it was to read your story today...



Loved your story and the details you included, like the cats eating the jerky and
your Aunt throwing the Holy Water around.

My Granny lived with us when I was a child and she also wet everybody down with Holy Water when she was afraid something terrible was about to happen, which was mostly every day.She was from Ireland and had a superstition for every occasion.

Only thing missing at our house were the frogs. We didn't have frogs..Great story..

Such a well crafted story. You shared not only the event, but your mind and emotion to color it for us.

As you can see, you'll be appreciated here, so please write more. I don't post a lot, but I read a lot. ;-)

Thanks, Lia, for the frog your writing brought to my throat.

Thanks for your story - I loved it.

Loved your story,It is so visual and full of excitement that my attention never wondered. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for taking us to visit

Your writing is evocative of Barbara Kingsolver. I would love to have a bookful of your work. Very well done.

Thank you to all for the wonderful comments.

Jeanne Follett -- I read some of the work you've done and would love to talk with you.


I loved your RAIN story...and your wise grandmother. Your words carried me from the Great Lakes straight to the SouthWest. Feels like I just flew over this vast country and landed at that little adobe.

Thanks and PLEASE keep writtig.

Lia: Likewise. Here's my spam e-mail. Leave a note there and I'll get in touch with my real address. jfollett@ptialaska.net.

Looking forward to chatting.

So glad everyone loved your writing..it is masterful and fun to follow...all cultures with the holy water and Aunts..loved every word...the toads, not so much...in the city it just rains cats and dogs, never toads...I just reread the piece...write on...

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