It's a furious day on the eastern seaboard. Nor'easters usually barrel through mid-winter, not mid-November. Today, if you must venture out, you physically wince and utter an oath when you open the front door. I had to pay for this morning's appointment even if I didn't go, so quickly I decided to go before I changed my mind. I threw on my coat and winced and oathed into the driving rain.
My umbrella turned inside-out five seconds after I stepped outside and three more times before I gave up and just allowed myself to get drenched. On a day like this, getting from point A to point B requires you to lean forward at a 45 degree angle while, if you forgot to button up, your coat snaps behind you at a 90 degree angle flapping insanely like a flag in a hurricane. This, I thought in the maelstrom, is Meme's "Hollywood rain".
Meme (say Me-Me) is my mom's oldest sister. And Meme has lived only twenty-five minutes away from me for the past twenty-five years. Meme was also the first relative (besides my parents) on the scene when I was born. I was born in Hawaii and my New England maternal grandparents sent Meme out as the Hendry family embassador, and helper, for Mom & Dad. This of course I don't remember but I've seen pictures and heard the stories.
Our relationship is as comfortable as an old chair. Sometimes it's easier to get along with your aunt than with your own mom simply because it's a less complicated relationship. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I got my mom. Meme's demons made life difficult for her own children. But Meme has mellowed with age and I'm her niece. All she has to worry about with me is to save her old People magazines, meet me occasionally to hand over the pile of People's over a pleasant chit-chat lunch, and wait patiently for me since I'm almost always late to pick her up. Meme is always patient with me.
Meme's Hollywood rain is any sort of drenching downpour that lasts for hours and hours that almost never happens in real life but always happens when it rains in the movies. Think about it. It never rains lightly or "sprinkles" in Hollywood productions. In Hollywood, it's either a mean, mad rain, or an unrelenting, unsympathetic dousing. Meme casually commented on this phenomenon once a number of years ago and it rang so true the minute she said it, I've never forgotten.
I found the perfect video on YouTube to illustrate (hope you like Ronnie Milsap): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0yIVZFv0aM
Oh, this too from Son of Flubber--it's too cute to pass up:
I suppose then, it's appropriate that a Nor'easter will be wailing around us on Friday when we gather to say good-bye to Meme at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.
Today, after being splashed relentlessly by passing cars while I struggled with my umbrella at the curb, I ducked, finally, into my car and happened to catch my reflection in the rearview mirror--my hair is plastered to my dripping face, the car is fogging up, and I'm smiling. This almost never happens in real life.