The Rain Today

Ashland’s rain today reminded me of the Philippines. I was stationed with the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, part of 13th Air Force and Pacific Air Forces, at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in the mid 1970s. It was my first overseas duty assignment. Being low in rank, it was a short tour – fifteen months – and my wife was not allowed to be there with me.

I had a lot of free time outside of my shifts. I used to run almost every day, then, in addition to my walking. I typically ran three to five miles a day. The weather never felt cold to me. Sometimes, the rain felt warm.

I was comparing my Philippines memory of rain to our Ashland rain today, trying to think of how I would describe this rain. This isn’t the monsoon sort of downpours that I knew in the Philippines, South Carolina, West Virginia, Okinawa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Germany, or England. We rarely seem to receive that sort of rain here. Nor is it the milder, lighter rain, like a shower or light rain that I often experienced in Half Moon Bay. This is just…rain.

Our athletic attire is a lot better in 2019 than it was in 1976. Back then, all my athletic clothing was cotton. When I was running in the rain, it’d get sopping wet, heavy, and start sagging and falling off. My socks then were athletic top socks that came up to my knees. They would slide down to my ankles. I wore Adidas running shoes, and head and wrist sweat bands. The wrist bands would start sliding down over my hands, and the head band would drop over my eyes.

I’d bought the bands for playing racquetball, and they were most definitely required in a a racquetball court’s humid confines. They didn’t seem to have air-con nor fans back then.

I used to run the one and a half miles between my barracks and the gym, play racquetball, and not infrequently run home. I’ve always been optimistic, sometimes stupidly so. I once saw it starting to rain in the Philippines and took off running for the gym to play racquetball. I was soaked when I arrived. Water pooled around me. There was no way I would be playing racquetball in those clothes. I had no choice but to run back to the barracks, holding up my short blue Adidas shorts with one hand as I ran.

Ah, good times.

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