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Be Sure to Get Up Early

     Something about waking up at the usual time and hearing the somber radio voice, “And now for the traffic report, here’s Kimberly Wave.”

     “Good morning. The freeways are a mess this morning. The morning rains have caused accidents all across the County. Be sure to leave early and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.”

     Sure I’ll leave early! Would you like me to leave right now? I can do that. If you don’t mind me leaving in my ’jammies with un-brushed teeth and an empty stomach and the newspaper lying in the driveway.

     I always wonder what they’re thinking when they tell you to leave early. How’re you going to do that, if you got up at the same time as always? And, of course, you did.

     This morning I took the challenge. Not that I’m eager for challenges at six in the morning. Just that I had a meeting first thing and I’d be late if I got caught in traffic. So I hustled. I did all the usual things – well, most of them - but I did them a heckuva lot faster than a person should when they’re half not awake. And I did lots of multi-tasking while I was hustling. I gulped my orange juice as I opened the blinds; shoveled cereal into my mouth as if I were in a food-eating contest; opened the garage door as I reached for my raincoat in the closet. Good thing for those automatic door openers.

     By the time I got to the car I was exhausted. Ka-pling! Text message arrived. You can’t ignore a text message – they’re so quick and easy to read and I hadn’t turned the key in the ignition yet so it was still legal.

     “Drive carefully,” my son texted. “You, too,” I texted back. And off I went, with a quick stop to pick the newspaper up off the driveway in its soaking wet plastic covers. They put two of them on now. Don’t know why.

     I didn’t think about much as I headed out. The morning was dull, filled with grey clouds and occasional spurts of rain. Even the traffic seemed to be shades of grey and brown. Not a single red or yellow car in the bunch. The freeway pavement was drab and dirty and the hills off to the side were shades of grey with tinges of brown. Mostly I wondered how much traffic there’d be up ahead and kept a close watch on the cars in front of me and behind me and on either side. That isn’t true. I generally drive in the left lane, so there weren’t any cars to the left of me. But I watched all the other sides and remembered my son’s text message.

     One freeway merges into another on this grey morning – Interstate 8 to 125 to Highway 94. Scenery doesn’t change. Grey. Bounding down Highway 94, watching the brake lights on the colorless cars in front of me I round the curve…

     Radiant rose, sunny yellow and pastel blue fills the sky in front of me, arching upwards toward the heavens and stopping at the highest point. I gasp for breath. Beautiful!

     I don’t cry much. I’m a rather boring person when it comes to emotions. Why the rainbow hit me like a punch in the stomach, I don’t know. It was so beautiful. It was reaching up to the heavens where… My guy. Would he ever see a rainbow again? Are there rainbows in heaven? I fought the tears as I tried to stop the sobs. We always used to call each other whenever we saw a rainbow. “Quick! Go look outside! To the east… Can you see it?”

     I couldn’t call him. But I told him. Look at the rainbow, Rol. Look at the rainbow.

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