It was hot and dry for a long time this summer. One day, coming in from outdoors, Certain Man remarked to me that the leaves were already falling — and it was only August! Well, yes, it did seem as if the leaves were falling in great number, but I didn’t know what to do about it, so I listened and noted — but I didn’t run out there with anything to paste them up there more securely.
So we drifted into September, and suddenly, we were slammed with a whole lot of rain. It came down in torrents, and it came shooting out over the gutters that are along the roof above our back decks, and that resulted in water seeping into our usually fairly dry basement.
Certain Man did not like it. Not one little bit. And one afternoon, when there was an especially loud thunderstorm going on, he announced, “I need to get up there and clean those gutters, or we are going to have a flood in the basement.”
I was not impressed with this endeavor. Not one little bit. “Daniel, you can’t go out in this thunderstorm and clean gutters!”
His reply? The usual. “Watch me!”
“But Sweetheart, it’s not safe. You could get struck by lightening!”
“You don’t get struck by lightening if you aren’t the tallest thing in the area!” he said jauntily.
“You KNOW that’s not true! If you are up on a metal ladder, dripping wet, you could be a target as sure as anything! Please don’t!”
“Hon, you have to understand! It’s a whole lot easier to clean gutters when it’s pouring down rain because the tide carries everything down the gutter to where you are and you can just lift it right out of the way. It’s as easy as all get out!”
I said some more things that fell on deaf ears, but then he turned and seemed to head in a different direction than indicated for going out to clean gutters and I thought he was going to heed my advice. Alas, that must have been a ploy to distract me.
Outside the storm raged on, but I thought all was well until I looked out the patio door and caught sight of him perched high on his ladder, happily cleaning gutters. The lightning was bright, the thunder was loud and I went to the door to remonstrate gently.
“Daniel Yutzy, what do you think you are doing??? You are going to get yourself killed! Get down right now! For cryin’ out loud! What in the world are you thinking?!?!?”
I caught sight of his face through the downpour and he was ginning, scooping out leaves and sticks and dirt from the offending gutters with great glee. It was almost disgusting if I hadn’t been so frightened! And the rain was coming in the patio door. He wasn’t listening to me. A sudden flash of lightning, followed by an immediate clap of thunder made me cringe. I shut the patio door against the summer storm, and tried not to look. He came down off his ladder to carry it to the other porch deck, and I saw him through the deluge as he came around the corner of the deck and propped it up against the siding. And then he came in, wet as a mongrel pup in a waterfall, and a sight to behold.
“Whew,” I said. “You got done just in time!”
“I didn’t get done,” he said shortly. “I quit!”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “You quit???”
“Yep!” He said in his offhanded, careless way. “I quit! That last lightning strike was a little too close for comfort, so I decided to get down!”
I did not dance a jig or even allow myself a triumphant fist pump. What did it matter as long as he was safely down and inside where he would be warm and dry? So I gave silent thanks and did not celebrate too overly much.
The gutters got cleaned out another day. And the next time it rained, Certain Man called attention to the fact that no gutter was overflowing. I noticed, and thanked him for a job well done.
The rain continues day after day and as those gutters do their job, my heart gives quiet, humble praise. Not just for the gutters, but also that Certain Man is safe yet again when it seems as if it could have been so different.