I remember when I was a kid we were in the backyard. We had just finished a day of yard work aka indentured servitude. Most kids got an allowance but not us. My Dad was old school. He believed his house, his rules. And a family who did yard work together stayed together. Tired and scraped up from a day of hard prison style labor, we were sucking down our ice pops when my dad said, “It’s going to rain.”
“No it isn’t Dad.” I protested. “It’s sunny out.” I always had the big mouth and always butted heads first with my dad. Looking back it was probably because we were so much alike. Still, it was sunny and I had to point out this obvious flaw in logic. Plus I had been forced to pick weeds for the last hour and a half which still had me resentful as all hell. Not to mention I had got bitten by some low level spider and was stewing about that and rightfully so.
“Shhhh!!!!” My brother said. It had been a long day and we were having what seemed to be a peaceful family moment. Being older, he felt the need to be peace keeper. Plus he had buried his report card in the sandbox only six weeks prior. My screwing up was his chance to get back on my dad’s good side. Since he had screwed up a few weeks earlier, my sister and I were the prized gems. Now I suppose my brother was ready for a change of role. I could see the devilish grin on that Gemini’s face as my father began to shoot a scowl of disapproval in my general direction.
“Well Dad might be right. How do you know it’s going to rain?” My sister interjected. Being a mere five, she had mastered the art of sucking up becoming everyone’s favorite. Her whole academic career even then consisted of the youngster getting nothing but perfect marks, always having the right answer, and always saying the right thing at the right time. While she was a cute kid I had to admit, most of the time I had a silent scorn for this part of her personality. The part that was eager to please. However, she was probably saving me from the stick. Yes we got beat. As I said my folks were old school. It wasn’t a bad thing, just don’t screw up.
“It’s because I can smell it.” My dad replied. We all looked at my dad astonished. Smell rain? That seemed so weird. Maybe our dad was psychic. One of our dad’s friends and clients, a man by the name of John Cannon, had studied at the Edgar Casey Institute and was a fan of his work. As a matter of fact so much so that he got my dad a book about the famed clairvoyant for Christmas. Then I took a sniff of the air. To think of it the air did smell a little odd….
The three of us looked at each other as our dad laughed and said, “I will be inside. Come in when you are ready.”
“Do you think Dad’s psychic?” My little sister asked. For as perfect as she was the child had managed to get her cherry push pop all over her shirt. It made me smile to see her fail. Especially since earlier that day that evil little elf from the pits of hell had taken a doll she had I both got as presents from an aunt, and when hers broke, replaced my unbroken one. She went so far as to insist that the broken one was mine and I sort of decked her. Of course she had cried the blues to my mother and I was forced to do her chores all morning as she recovered. Siblings are the devil’s children.
“He’s full of shit.” I replied confidently. “He just wants to scare us like the time he told us if we looked in the mirror for too long the devil would come behind us and take us away.” Indeed that had been one of my dad’s favorites as well. When this proved to be false I copped the biggest resentment of all time. It was an old school tale to eliminate vanity. However it scared the hell out of children, myself included.
“You better watch your mouth or I’ll tell dad you are swearing again.” My brother promised. I scowled at him. There had been an incident at the movie theatre the day before during a family outing we had. I had informed my father that the popcorn and soda had filled me so much that I had to “take a dump.” Then when I had gotten home I dropped an s-bomb and an f-bomb. My father, being concerned that his eight year old was talking like a trucker, gave me the old school backhand.
Okay, so maybe I swore a little. At least I didn’t hide my report card in the sandbox. Besides, apparently no one had ever seen my mother drive. I never knew swear words could exist in such combinations. Ordinarily a nice lady, my mom was fierce as hell behind the wheel of a car. During Lent one year she had tried to quit swearing making a promise to God that if she stopped swearing he would make me do better in school. I did do better in school, partially because I was so sick of hearing, “Fig you, fig you you motherloving cupcake,” on the long drives to see my tutor.
Angry over my brother’s attempt at blackmailing me I looked him square in the eyes and decked him like they did in those Kung Fu re-runs we had all come to love at my house. My brother, not done, kicked me. Oh I wasn’t done with that self righteous idiot just yet. He was going to be back on my dad’s bad side when I was done with him.
Out of no where we heard a clap of thunder. Then the sky opened and rain fell down. My brother and I looked at each other as my sister said, “Guys, dad was right.” Immediately the fight stopped and we ran inside.
Once we got in we saw our dad in the kitchen with our mom. Our mom said, “It’s time for three little dirt balls to hit the showers and get some dinner. Girls, as soon as you are dry, help me cook. And by the way, we are eating in front of the TV.”
The three of us jumped for joy at the news. It meant no sit down dinners with either quiz questions from my mom or the dreaded paper boy stories from my dad. Instead it would be the a Jeopardy followed by a shoot ‘em up my mother rented from the local video store. But before we went to the shower we had something to address with our father. How had he predicted this storm? Our local weather man said that it was supposed to be sunny with a chance of clouds and that was it.
As we inquired to my dad’s psychic abilities he chuckled. “There is no such thing as psychic. You see, you can tell by the way the air smells. The air changes smell and it becomes more damp.” My dad explained. The three of us stared at each other.
“They should put you on TV.” My sister said. “You’re smart.” My mom could barely contain her laughter.
“It was a trick my uncle taught me when I used to visit my grandmother as a kid over the summer at the dairy where we ate delicious hand made iced cream.” My dad said. “As a matter of fact I used to put it to the test. Because you see, when I was a paper boy….”
And with that the three of us ran to the shower. As we made an exit I heard my mom say to my dad, “Bill, I knew I married a genius.”
To which my dad replied, “What better way to get the children to bathe.”