I have always been a California boy. I was born here, went to school here, worked here, and will most likely die here unless I am traveling at the time.
For some reason the women I have attracted have never been from California. My first two wives were from Michigan and my current (and last) was raised in Oregon/Washington. My sensibilities tend to gravitate towards football games, hot buttered rum drinks, and over-eating when the rains come. This is obviously not too healthy, but the “rainy days” are few and far enough between that the lifestyle never gets too sedentary. Of course ski trips and other “outward bound” trips break up the winter. My skiing career started when I was 5, walking up the hills and skiing down. The thing I never really embraced was the all day, grey day in March when there is no Football, Baseball is just in training, and BasetBall and Hockey are not my favorites.
The mother of my children, although we split up 7 years ago she is still a dear friend, was one of the Michi’ganders. She was born in Kalamazoo, which is a name I have always loved just for the sound of it. “Tippy-canoe-and-Kalamazoo-Too.”
We had kidz. We had great kidz; they were into everything. They attended Adalante Spanish immersion school, the both got their kiddy black belts in Okinawa Karate, they played some music, held interests in teaching and journalism, partied like their parents, loved and helped people like their pastors, and were generally just great kidz.
This happens to be a very rainy day. It somehow reminded me of some of the most wonderful things that my Michigan wife and I did with our Kidz.
There was an area down from where we lived in the hills, down by Middlefield “Little Mexico” where the fields were not as well grated, and there were big depressions in the turf, where huge lakes (at least 8”deep) would accumulate during a good rainfall. Kip (Mom) would dress the girls all up in their finest Muck-luk attire (boots, hoods, slickers, goggles, astro-hand-warmers, etc…) and we would head for the puddles. It didn’t matter if it was raining 1” an hour at the time. It also didn’t really matter how cold it was outside, but being California, it was usually still mid ‘60’s when we were out.
The real game plan was to totally drench everybody around you. It didn’t matter that it was cold and wet, the action of the competition and play was such that nobody was ever cold. There would be the unsuspecting girl (or Black Lab) standing way too close to a 6” puddle, and it was irresistible to jump in with both feet and splash the heck our of everything.. As the exhaustion became an aphrodisiac and the endorphins mixed with the lack of sensitivity to the cold, we became a bit bolder. What were at first “foot- stomps” denigrated into full body slams into the cold rainwater. When the splashes were insufficient, there was indeed (hate to say it as a dad) dunking involved. There were side splashes, back splashes, back lashes and amazing crashes. There were times we brought our bikes, walked with spikes, floated tikes, it was all good.
The inevitable end to the day was to throw all the clothes (down to the undies) into a huge garbage bag, pile into the Astro Van (the best family vehicle we were ever exposed to until my wife decided we needed a leather lined Tahoe that got half the mileage and cost twice as much) and as hypothermia was beginning to take control, rolled back into the driveway of our Upland home.
Decontamination was efficient, concise, and incredibly poorly received. Upon return home after this afternoon of excess mud and clayurnal bliss, the clean-up process at home was not popular. There was the garden hose for the bulk of the mud, then the total strip search on the porch for the remainder of the mud. Tubs were simultaneously run, and by the time the girls had recovered from the shock of the hoses and subsequent stripping, and were ready for the hot tub. Not like we had a “HotTub” but the tub in their bathroom was by then, pretty inviting,
An hour later, dressed in their “onesies” or whatever attire was appropriate for their age, we were all snuggled in front of the fireplace. We were always resplendent with the memories of the day, the wonderful feeling of having an athletic “outdoor” day, enjoying the contrasts in temperature, the sheer excitement of the splashing and wallowing, and sharing the “Aprè” experience with our family.
Every time I see a puddle on the side of the road, I have to drive through it or stomp on it.
I love you, my girls! Kayla, Kelsey, and Kippy