By Wayne Swanson
When the timer switched off, the light went out
on the overhead garage door. The late afternoon sun was well hidden by
the shifting clouds of the impending storm. It didn’t exactly plunge us
into darkness but nevertheless Dean let out a slight gasp. Sitting on a
short stool just inside the open door, I was watching my son watch the
sky. He leaned back against me putting his head next to mine and
whispered, “I love you Dad.”
“I love you too,” I said as I put my left hand on
his shoulder and gave him a little squeeze.
“Can I run out again?”
“Go ahead. See if you can make it to the Jeep
He ran. Squealing with delight like only a
four-year-old can, he dodged the light drops, zigzagging his way to the
side of the Jeep all of ten feet away. Reaching out he tagged the rear
fender flare and jumped back as if he expected the Jeep to tag him back.
He crossed the threshold into the garage and into my waiting arms with
an insane smile and just a little more damp than when he left.
Phoebe had come out with us too, but she headed
back in to watch TV after showing us how fast she could make it to the
tree in the middle of the yard. Fast she was; she probably covered six
times the distance without getting wet at all. But today the magic of
angry clouds couldn’t compete with that of Harry Potter, which left us
alone in the garage. And today, that was just fine with us.
He sat down on my knee and we witnessed the wind
assault the remaining leaves on the trees across the street. Thunder
sounded off in the distance and again Dean huffed. “In my California
there was thunder but no rain,” he told me matter-of-factly.
“Buddy, there is only one California,” I said,
“about three thousand miles that way,” pointing past the almost bare
“No Dad, there is my California and yours.
Remember, you went on the motorcycle with your friends? Then there is
another one and one, two, three, four, five, six Californias.”
“Yeah you’re right Buddy, we all have our own
Californias,” I said, realizing it was true.
Then the skies opened up as sheets of water
danced across the driveway, some making it past the open door. Without
notice, he jumped off my knee and spun around, giving me an unyielding
hug. I stood up with him still clinging to my neck and gave him my own
hug. After a moment, I put him down and we headed into the house, into
Wayne Swanson is originally from New York, but
found the love of his life and made a home with his family in Northern
Maryland. Besides being a husband and father, he is an avid motorsports
enthusiast and participant. When he’s not trying to teach his kids the
three R’s (Responsibility, Respect and Racing), he spends his time
learning from them about life.
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