Number 3 Tin Tub and Picture Clouds in the Sky

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The Story

There are not many things in life more impressive than the natural beauty of the world around us — the beauty of a clear blue sky with puffy cumulous clouds floating gracefully overhead, the melodic songs of birds serenading you as they nest in trees and feed their young, or as they seem to dance in flight as they frolic around with each other. When I close my eyes and think back, I can see fields of green pastures dotted with colorful wildflowers and fruit trees planted in neat rows. There were also cotton fields as far as the eye could see, serving as a perpetual reminder of a cruel past. I can still picture the shops in town: the café, movie theater, the general store, the hardware store, and my maternal grandfather’s gas station. As young children, we were given permission to go to these places, except the movie theater, alone. Ma’ Dear would give us money to purchase items or we were given permission to put it on her “tab,” the original credit account.

I loved looking up at the clouds. The sky was like a big blue dome overhead filled with different shapes of clouds. When we lay down on the plush green grass, swam in our small portable swimming pool, or bathed in a big tin tub, I would enjoy attempting to derive meanings from the clouds. Sometimes I would see dinosaur clouds, or clouds that looked like the profile of a person’s head, trees, airplanes, or angels. When the wind would nudge a cloud and change its shape, it would spark more opportunities for creativity. When I wasn’t using my imagination to find pictures in the clouds, I was afforded time to use my vivid imagination to daydream about my future.

It seemed as if the clouds were gifts wrapped in puffy marshmallows, just waiting for me to unwrap them. The sky, to me, represented hope and possibilities of things that could be, beyond my realm of understanding. It was vast, open, and infinite, for all I knew. As a child, I would wonder what was beyond the clouds. Could I float on one? How far did they extend? How did rain get inside clouds? Were raindrops like tears coming from the clouds? And the biggest question of all: could I really plant beans and grow my very own beanstalk, climb it all the way past the clouds, and then get treasure from a wealthy giant and his wife? 

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