The little crystal clock beside our bed said 2 a.m.
I don’t know what woke me up or whether I ever even went to sleep at all that night.
Sitting up in bed to get a better view of the clock, I realized it was pouring down rain.
Since our bedroom is on the second floor, the sound of the rain hitting the slate roof was close, and as so often happens to me, one second or smell or event can spur a memory.
In short, the tap tapping on the roof evoked another night in another bed with another person.
Let me take you there.
My dad’s parents, who we called Granny and Granddaddy Pete, lived in their shotgun house, a southern name for the customary farmhouse in South Georgia.
It has a center hall front-to-back with two or three bedrooms on one side and living, dining and kitchen on the other side of the hall.
They lived there my entire memory in Naylor, Georgia, which abutted their small farm in the back.
If memory serves me correctly, it was my favorite place to visit in the world.
We had a summer beach on St. Simon’s Island and a winter home in Atlanta, but nothing compared with spending time with Granny and Granddaddy Pete.
The roof of their frame house was made of tin.
Have you ever heard a hard rain pelt a tin roof? It is pure magic.
From the time I was very young, a visit there meant I could sleep with Granny Pete. Oh, the joy of it.
Neither of my brothers were allowed, just me, and if, by some streak of magic, it would wind up a soaking rain, I remember lying oh so still, so as not to break the rhythm and just listening with every fiber in me.
Rain on a tin roof.
So, that night as I laid on my bed between Gene and two cats, my mind traveled back to Naylor, Georgia.
One thing I recall was that I used to edge over closer to Granny Pete, and I sort of let my foot rest on her foot and she didn’t mind one bit.
I didn’t feel the need to do that all these many years later with Gene. Maybe it had to do with the rain on a slate roof just not being the same as rain on a tin roof.
But then, as I laid there and listened, another memory snuck up on me.
This one was so darn funny I started laughing there at 2 a.m. in Winchester,.
It had to do with something else that always happened on our visits to Granny and Granddaddy Pete’s.
As you may have noticed in my description of their house, there was no bathroom indoors for many years.
There was a one-holer outside, which had a front door and a wide open back that exposed — hmmm — everything to the world, and more importantly, to the meanest biggest rooster that ever roamed the Earth.
From his hen duties, his main job was to keep a close eye on the comings and goings of visitors of the outhouse.
He felt called to run around to the back of it, and when the moment was right, to literally pick the holy bejebers out of whatever he could reach.
You could almost hear him cackling in joy as he made contact and then laughing all the way back to the house as he chased the frantic humans trying to run while hitching the trousers or skirts up and down at the same time as they ran.
I’m telling you the truth here. A day or two long visits were manageable (i.e. go without using the one-holer) but if you stay much longer, it became more of a problem.
One time, when I was about 10 – well that is another whole column.
During that late-night rain storm in Winchester, that is how I spent my hours. Meanwhile, how many of you know about hard rain on a tin roof?
The view from the mountain is wondrous.
Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.