Rain pitter-pattered on the tile shingled roof last night.
The sound of a thousand tiny drums
Marching through the night’s silence.
Crescendoing around 3 AM with a mighty climax,
We lie sleepless and beaten,
Left wet with our lingering thoughts of work
And other monstrous mental intrusions.
Undeterred by the rain,
The vigilant raccoon found his way up the feeder pole
And stuffed himself on sweet succulent seed
Intended for the morning birds.
I thought back to when
We were young boys growing up
In the normality and conformity-obsessed 1950s.
We were raccoons!
And if allowed, nocturnal.
Once your mind sets sail in the midst of the night,
There is no telling where it might end up.
I even recalled Miss Woods, our fifth grade science teacher,
Telling us that a baby raccoon was called a kit.
Not to be mistaken for kittens,
The offspring of the friendly household cat.
And throwing in a dash of sociology,
Our well-rounded teacher added that
The word “coon” was considered pejorative by Negroes.
Yes, there was one African-American girl
In my homeroom class at Elm School.
To her school mates, she was always Lizzie
But to her parents she was nothing less than Elizabeth.
Having survived the night, the drenching rain
And my fickle hoboing thoughts,
The morning broke in panicked sunshine
That nervously worked its way through remaining clouds,
Threatening to shower us again with wet blessings.
As I watched the sun struggle through the clouds,
I could only but think how so often
I manage to rain on my own parade in life.
That I cannot blame on the night’s steady downpour.