The rains came down in sheets and blanketed the landscape in water. Farmers were driven homeward and ranchers forced to higher grounds. I personally hadn’t seen the sun in the last three days thanks to extra hours in the office during the tax season. People were bringing in as much paperwork as the clouds brought precipitation.
I forced myself to pack extra clothes as I finished my preparations for the day. It was still early in the morning with the sun just lifting its light over the horizon. I took a moment to enjoy the sight. Grabbing my keys, I turned for the door when I heard one of my boys coming down the carpeted stairs.
Turning to him, I asked, “What are you doing up this early?”
“Mum said this was the only way I could see you. Are you ever going to come home like you used to?”
The blow left a deep dent in my chest. My heart felt as though it had fallen from my chest and only remained attached by a thin string. I didn’t know how to respond.
“It’s tax season, son. This is the busiest time of the year for me. I make most of our yearly funds during this time. I don’t like being away from you either. But what choice do I have?”
He was quiet for a moment as his young mind turned the wheels. “You could take some time off, couldn’t you?”
The rains continued to hammer the roof. The outside world was uninviting and my inner reality was begging me to stay. He rubbed his watering eyes as he pushed himself to be strong in his seven year old frame.
I could not take any more. “I tell you what I’ll do. I’ll call the office and tell them that I won’t be coming today and that I’ll make up the time later. You’ll go wake your brother and together with your Mum, we’ll have pancakes together as a family. How does that sound?”
His answer was a resounding hooray as he ran up the stairs shouting, “Daddy’s staying home today!” After he disappeared into his room, I could hear his brother’s bed squeaking as he woke up his brother in his favorite fashion of jumping on him. I wasn’t sure how my wife would react to this news, but, I figured that family memories should come first.
With my business items returned to rest, I commanded my phone to call the office. A few minutes later, my schedule was now rearranged for the day. I could hear young Julius waking his Mum with shouts of joy.
My technique for breakfast was rusty. I hadn’t made pancakes in ages and couldn’t remember the simple recipe for it. As I dug out the house-shaped box of recipes, I pilfered through the index cards until the one for pancakes showed up. Wit ,mhin a few minutes of clumsy measuring and dry ingredients spread as much on the counter as in the bowl, Julius came flying downstairs and leapt off the third one and bounded into the kitchen tackling my leg in a hug.
“This is going to be the best day ever!” He proclaimed with all the enthusiasm of a sports announcer watching someone score a goal.
I held up my palm to him and connected with a solid pop of his own. “You bet it is. Is your Mum and brother coming?”
“Mum said she would be down in a little while and Eustus pulled the covers over his head.”
Putting my faithful cast iron pan on the burner, the heat came alive as the blue flames brought life to the bottom of the pan. Another quick whisk of the batter put a few more air bubbles into the mixture.
“What kind of shape would you like?”
Julius’s eyes lit up as sparklers. “Can you make a crab? We watched a show on the ocean last night and they followed the life cycle of crabs.”
After a moment of consideration, a swell of queasy confidence bolstered my answer. “Sure. It may end up like one of those Japanese crabs with legs as long as me though.”
He let out a window rattling hoop as he ran to set up the table.
This truly would be the best day I’ve had in a long time.