“Failure is not fun. It can be awful. But living so cautiously that you never fail is worse.”
As I listened to Mr. O’Dwyer run through all the Irish ballads he had ever learned, the breeze would begin to smell of earth and air and a mossy scent that meant only one thing: A thunderstorm.
There was a wonderful temporary hush then, as Lindsey sat in her room on the old couch studying, my father sat in his den reading his books, my mother downstairs doing needlepoint or washing up.
I liked to change into a long cotton nightgown and go out onto the back porch, where, as the rain began falling in heavy drops against the roof, breezes came in screens from all sides and swept my gown against me. It was warm and wonderful and the lightning would come and, a few moments later, the thunder.
My mother would stand at the open porch door, and, after she said her standard warning, “You’re going to catch your death of cold,” she grew quiet. We both listened together to the rain pour down the thunder clap and smelled the earth rising to greet us.
“You look invincible,” my mother said one night.
I loved these times, when we seemed to feel the same thing. I turned to her, wrapped in my thin gown, and said: