Melinda, a young momma stands on her cement porch, with clothes basket in hand. The air is warm and the sun a butter yellow. Jack and Lisa, her little ones are running around the backyard. Heading to their swing set and jungle gym. Max, their crazy Jack Russell is running right behind them. He’s snapping at the air trying to catch flies. He’s yapping so loudly that he’s disturbing the flies, making them buzz around his head. Melinda stares at the dog and wonders if he’ll die of a heart attack, he’s riggling around so much.
She walks down the steps and heads to the clothesline. She breathes in the smell of fresh laundry and Springtime. As she begins pinning the bed sheets to the line, she watches her children play with Max, the wonder pup. They are chasing him around with cheap pinwheels that she bought them at the dollar store. The wheels are spinning as they run. The colors of them blur with their motions. The trip to the dollar store was a necessity, to pick up laundry soap and fabric softener. Of course she had to placate her 7 and 9 year old with cheap plastic toys. Now they’re terrorizing the dog with them.
Melinda yells, “Hey you two, knock off banging on the dog with the pin wheels!”
Jack and Lisa look at her with faces of complete innocence. She just shakes her head and smiles. The kids continue to play with Max. Melinda hangs up her husband’s t-shirts and some of his jeans. Ah Troy, what a good man. She hold his shirt to her nose and breathes in the aroma of Gain detergent and Snuggle fabric softener. She wishes she could still smell him on the fabric though. She sighs and pins the shirt to the line. Just then the kids start running through the clothes line. With the dog!
Once again Melinda yells, “Get out of the clothesline. The clothes are clean and I want them to stay that way.”
The kids keep running through the newly hung laundry. Laughing, with Max trailing behind them.
They scream, “Mom, come run with us!”
Melinda laughs and starts to chase them. They weave their way around the sweet smelling laundry. Hair flying wildly in the warm breeze. Max is crazily chasing after them. Still snapping at the air to catch flies.
The kids and Melinda plop down on the ground under the clothes line. They are still laughing and carrying on. The rest of the household chores forgotten for a few minutes. They lay next to each other and look up at the clouds.
Melinda points to one and says, “I see an elephant.”
Jack says, “No Momma, it’s a rhino.”
Lisa replies, “You’re both wrong. It’s a hippo!”
Max wanders over to Melinda. Sniffs her hair and face. He settles next to her, and lays his chin on his paws. He’s still panting from his meanderings.
Troy, Melinda’s husband comes home from work to find his family laying under the clothesline. In the sun, giggling and talking. He sets down his briefcase and takes off his suit jacket. Then wanders out to where his family is and lays down next to his wife. She grabs his hand and leans her head on his shoulder.
Melinda says to Troy as she points to the cloud above them, “What do you think that cloud looks like? We’ve decided it’s an elephant, rhino and a hippo.”
Troy kisses Melinda’s forehead and replies, “Why can’t it be all three?”
Jack sits up and says, “Dad how can it be all three? It can’t be an elerihinhippo!”
Troy looks at Jack and says, “Son, that’s exactly what it is!”
Lisa sighs and says, “Daddy, you are way too silly.”
Melinda grabs Troy’s hand and squeezes it. She gazes at the sky, breathes in the fresh air and laundry. She knows that life can’t possibly get any better than this.