And daddy, well I think his chest puffed out a little proud, too. He strutted, yeah strutted, to his garage with two sweaty boys in tow, following his every move and mannerism. "Now, men," he looked several feet down his 6'4" frame at the men.
"Yes, daddy," the men jumped like grasshoppers.
"Think you can can roll that tire on out to the rope?"
The 3'2" men flexed and that tire, wobbley, rolled round about and maybe daddy steered it just a little bit. Maybe he made the tire just a little lighter-just enough for his little men to think they did it all by themselves. Maybe. It depends on who tells the story.
These days the old rope seems to long for the day when it can set the tire down on the grass a few inches away, and rest.
Sometimes I tug that tire swing up to the trampoline, hold on tight, and I don't know which of us gets the bigger thrill, the tire or me, but we gasp together in swing and spin; and because a crash to the ground is about as far away as a freshly mowed blade of grass is tall.
"What is this broken-in tug I'm feeling?" I've tied a few knots in the rope to shorten it because though it's ready to stretch out full and retire on the grass, I'm not ready for it to do that just yet.
I'm not ready for me to do that.
I'm broken-in, and it's a comfy kind of feeling to wear my skin loose because four children sort of stretched me this way and that in the tug toward their adult years.
There's still some stretch left in me. Still enough slack to make more notches and I don't mind that the hips I supported babies on just aren't there anymore, because I don't need them anymore.
Joy applauds blessings. It does.
I hear applause when pecans pop-pop on the ground, loosed by scrambling squirrels, old tire swing sway, an autumn rain, and claps of thunder, too,
Joy applauds like that.
I wonder how often joy is so near-if we would only run through the rain to get it. Blessings, too.
Joy and blessings-they're not too proud for back alleys, paper boats, and bare feet.
Two little boys splashed-just splashed into joy.
Tires splashed, too; but not into joy. Cars stalled in bothersome rainwater coming down faster than storm drains could swallow.
Funny how the same rainfall engulfed tires, but wasn't too deep for bare feet.
Thing is, joy and blessings aren't missed because they've gone missing but because they're not met. Are they overlooked because they're not looked for? Not found because who thinks to search the alleys? In the rain?
That's how it began, meeting joy that day.
Maybe it's how to begin meeting joy everyday.
Maybe delays and stalled out engines and sometimes even umbrellas-inconveniences and conveniences alike-hint at joy so near it nearly tugs our shoes off, turns umbrellas inside out, soaks through dress suits worn by those kicking the tires on their stalled vehicles till they look down an alleyway and would give anything for a pair of swim trunks and a paper boat.
Maybe joy begins like that sometimes.
I wore flip flops that day.
I ran through the rain; chased my two boys, paper sailboats, joy. I chased joy down the alley to where it was deep.
"Let's race our sailboats!" The boys called to each other across the river, and the rain applauded.
They splashed and joy soaked them. Soaked me.
And blessings, the everyday kind? They're deep enough to stall a line of cars, but not too deep for bare feet.
I'm kicking my shoes off!
Where's my paper boat?
Back alley blessings and deep joy. Today.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig