Noah went to his room to find a pair of shorts but came out several minutes later wearing long gray sweatpants. Henry had finally slipped on his shoes and sipped some water from his glass on the kitchen table. As Chris likes to say, the boys are sometimes as slow as snails going uphill in a wind storm. I’ve never disagreed.
Even though it was breezy outside, it was a luxury to wear short sleeves. We hadn’t felt almost 80 degrees in more than six months. I noticed the tulips in the flower box had finally poked through the soil. The rabbits eat them every year. If they forget, the squirrels destroy them.
“Spring is here, boys,” I said.
“It almost feels like summer out here,” Henry replied. I was glad he was not complaining about the warm temperatures. I had been waiting for a day like this since October.
We walked down the street and waved to our neighbor who had just ridden her bike. She wore a sleeveless shirt and was cooling down with a water bottle. We walked a little farther, and Henry appeared deep in thought.
“I wonder if cars will fly sometime before I die?” Henry asked, after we crossed the street.
I was thinking about a response but wasn’t fast enough to answer.
“Depends on when you die,” Noah replied.
“Most people don’t die until they are 80 or 90 years old,” Henry stated, confidently.
“There have been many apocalypses predicted that we have already survived through,” Noah said.
“What in the world are you talking about?” I asked. I couldn’t understand him because he was talking too fast and facing away from me. Noah was so excited to share the details, but it seemed to come out of left field.
“We have survived them all. There was one in the year 1284, another in 1666, and one in 1911. One more was in 1986. Then some people thought the world was going to end in 2008 and 2012.”
I think the older brother was trying to offer Henry some hope that the world would not end anytime soon; therefore, Henry could potentially live for another 90 years. And cars could fly.
“You know, when I was growing up, people watched a cartoon called The Jetsons, and it was about a family who lived in space. George, the dad, flew a space car to work, and they could look into a computer and talk with other people. We can see people in our computers right now with Skype, so you never know what might happen," I said.
The boys chattered on and on about the world ending and drastic weather changes. Nobody was afraid. It was just the topic of the day. I hadn’t given much thought to an apocalypse before and likely won’t ever again. If the world ends, so be it. I’ve had a good run.
Saturday evening the cool temps rolled in, and rain poured from the heavens. It rained and thundered. Then it hailed. The kids protested when I wanted to go outside to gather a sample of the quarter-sized hail because Noah thought I would be electrocuted. We all yelled at Isaac to turn off the water and keep his hands out of the sink during an electrical storm. All the booming sounds made him anxious. It never stopped raining, and it rained all day Sunday, too. We received over 3.5 inches of rain in two days, setting a record for April rainfall. I don’t remember when the previous record was set, but it could have been in 1911, the same year someone had forecast the world to end.
Early Monday morning Henry was lying on the couch before he got dressed for school. The blinds were shut. He had one eye open.
“Guess what happened last night?” I asked Henry.
He had no idea.
I opened the blinds and asked him to look out the front window. He was speechless when he saw our bushes, covered with a fresh blanket of snow. The trees appeared to have been spray painted by Mother Nature.
Noah said even the local TV weather channel was taunting us. “Na na na na na na, na na na na na na, you can’t do anything about this!” it seemed to say. All of the temperatures had disappeared. It felt a bit like we were in the twilight zone.
“It seems like it, doesn’t it?” I replied.
Then we laughed.