Friday, September 23, 2016

Not Made of Sugar

In Isaac Asimov’s a short story Rain, Rain, Go Away, a strange family, the Sakkaros, move next door to the Wrights. They always seem to be sunbathing, they rush indoors whenever there is a cloud in the sky, and the process she goes through to pour Mrs Wright a glass of water is peculiar indeed.

The Sakkaros are rather reclusive, and the Wrights decide to try to be neighborly and invite them and their son to go to a carnival. They Sakkaros check the forecast, which says it will be clear, and they agree to go with the Wrights. Everyone seems to be having a good time (the Sakkaros eat mass quantities of of cotton candy and other sugary foods). But then, the sky starts to cloud up and Mr Sakkaros hears on his portable radio that it is going to rain. The Sakkaros insist that they really need to go home. Right now.

So the Wright’s drive them home and when the husband gets out of the car to let them out of the back seat, he thinks he feels a drop.
The Sakkaros tumbled out, faces drawn with tension, muttering thanks, and started off toward their long front walk at a dead run.

 “Honestly, began Lillian, “you would think they were….”

The heavens opened and the rain came down in giant drops as though some celestial dam had suddenly burst. The top of their car was pounded with a hundred drumsticks, and halfway to their front door the Sakkaros stopped and looked despairingly upward.

Their faces blurred as the rain hit; blurred and shrank and ran together. All three shriveled, collapsing within their clothes, which sank down into three sticky-wet heaps.

And while the Wrights sat there, transfixed with horror, Lillian found herself unable to stop the completion of her remark:

“…made of sugar and afraid they would melt.”

I t occurred to me when I read the story years ago that the Sakkaros family should have carried large umbrellas “just in case.” We should have had umbrellas last Sunday.

The weather forecast on Saturday was that Sunday would be “bright and sunny.” How fortuitous for our friends, who had planned a party for Sunday for the wife, who turned 86. It was supposed to be an outdoor party on their lovely deck starting at 2 p.m..

At about 12:45, I left the house and took the Mollywog to the park so we could get some exercise before leaving for the birthday bash. Yes, friends and neighbors, I can walk now, but my gait is very lurchy and I need the crutch – or at least I think I do – for longer distances (I believe the crutch is starting to become “a crutch”). I noticed as we started off that dark clouds were forming in the distance, and there was lighting flashing and I could hear thunder rumbling. By the time had I just about finished, the sky was very dark indeed. The first drops started to fall just as we got to the car.

As we were leaving for for the 14-mile or so drive to their house, the heavens had opened and the rain was pouring down. Pouring down so hard that Richard had to slow down on the highway because the wipers could not keep up. He  parked as close as he could to the long cement walk leading up to their porch (I don't do well on gravel) and looked in vain for the umbrellas that are supposed to be in the back seat, but they weren’t there.

I found myself thinking about the Asimov story as I opened the door and got out in the pouring rain and walked—slowly, very slowly—up to the porch. By the time I got there, I was soaked.

I like to think I am sweet, but I am happy to report that I did not melt. They got me a towel, and I dried my hair. The rest of me eventually dried, too.

And we had a lovely visit with these dear people (who were the pastor of our church) and other friends and family.

By the time we were ready to come home,  the rain had stopped, so we were able to stroll back to the car without getting any soggier. And perhaps Richard will remember to put the umbrellas back in the car.

1 comment:

Far Side of Fifty said...

I enjoyed your story! I always say I am in no danger of melting! Our umbrellas are always in the wrong car:(