Rainless in Seattle

Raindrops beat a restless tattoo on the leaves of a flowering crabapple tree outside my bedroom window. Not wanting to get up yet, I kept my eyes pinched tightly shut. As the rain increased, I became aware of its insistent, rhythmic drumming on the rooftop.

Thunder rumbled far off in the distance. A damp breeze squeezed into the room through a narrow window opening and touched my shoulders. I shivered and unsuccessfully groped for the blanket. I grudgingly opened my eyes to a monochrome dawn.

The blanket hadn’t gone far. I retrieved it from the floor and then turned my sleep-blurred eyes toward the alarm clock. Blazing red numbers announced the time: six thirty. I sighed. Sinking back onto my pillow I complained, “Why does it ALWAYS rain whenever I have a day off?”

My husband’s answer was muffled by his pillow, “Because you happen to be a very lucky person!”

The next morning I awoke to a clear sky. By the time I was ready to drive to work, the sun was shining with blinding brilliance. I grumpily told Arnie, “I should be thanked for going to work. You understand that’s the only reason the sun is shining today, don’t you?”

Arnie pleasantly said, “Have a nice day!”

I sourly commented, “I’m glad we’re going to Seattle for our vacation this year. I hear that it rains often in the state of Washington. If that’s true, maybe no one will suspect that I’m the cause of the rainy spell they’re sure to have once we land!”

The first day of our vacation finally arrived. Arnie, Tammie and I boarded an airplane to fly to Seattle. Up and up we went. Below us crop land looked like small quilt squares, while cities looked like decorative silver buttons. From an overhead speaker, the pilot’s voice eventually announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen, in about ten minutes if there are no clouds, you’ll see Mt. Rainier to your left.”

Arnie eagerly leaned forward to peer out of the window. I said, “Don’t get your hopes up. There probably will be a thick cloud cover!” Then to my surprise, Mt. Rainier’s snowy top rose up in the distance like a luminous giant.

The following morning, sunshine peeked past skyscrapers to shine into our downtown home-away-from-home apartment. Arnie said, “Let’s go up to the mountain today. Who knows how long this good weather will last.”

The next day was sunny and warm as well, so we visited the zoo. Each lovely day was followed by another lovely day. We traveled all over the city seeing the sights. Small cafes dotted the big city streets, each with busy sidewalk tables. Windows hung open without screens. “We don’t have mosquitos here!” proud Seattleites told us.

No vacation is complete until Arnie has had a chance to lead us on an incredibly long, sweaty, difficult march through whatever mountainous terrain the locale we are visiting can offer. This year our idyllic vacation to Seattle ended with a visit to Bainbridge Island. Getting there required a half-hour ferry ride across Elliot Bay. (Puget Sound) As soon as we disembarked Arnie pointed to a hot, dusty, deserted road that appeared to go nowhere except up hill. He said, “Let’s see where that road will take us!”

A merciless sun smiled malevolently down on our sweaty bodies as we plodded along. Wild blackberry bramble reached out from the lots along our way, ready to scratch anyone who staggered too close. An occasional car swooshed by, providing us with a momentary gust of fresh air.

Near the top of the hill we started to find strange pictures and messages permanently imprinted in our cemented walkway. One had to be read both coming and going. The phrase facing us said, “In the first moments of a dream…” Stepping across it, I turned around to read the second part. It said, “…the air between rain drops is dry!”

Arnie said, “What the heck is THAT supposed to mean?”

Standing with my hands on my hips, I commented with a frown, “The last time I checked, the air is always dry between raindrops, even on my days off!”

“But what does it MEAN?” my practical mate inquired.

I shrugged. “I’m not sure, but it would be a terrific password for two spies meeting on a park bench. Can’t you just see how it would work? One would be sitting there waiting for the correct signal to allow him to share top secret information. The other would approach and mumble, “In the first moments of a dream…”

The one sitting on the bench would carefully respond,”…the air between rain drops is dry.”

Arnie laughed indulgently at my silliness. He said, “I see a gas station up ahead. Let’s get a cool drink and find a shady place to sit.”

I happily followed my husband and daughter to the oasis, privately reflecting on the strange sidewalk message. Each moment of our dream vacation was dry. We had visited at the right time, between raindrops! Rainless in Seattle! Who ever heard of such a thing?

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