Raindrops and Diamonds

Melissa opened her eyes and hopefully looked around. But her bedroom was still gloomy and gray—just like yesterday.

“Grumpy gray dismal day,” she muttered to herself as she got out of bed.

Melissa wondered why Saturdays had to be rainy. Since there’s no school on Saturdays, she thought, they should all be nice sunny days so I can play outside. Besides, it rained all day yesterday and the day before!

A frowning freckled face scowled at her from the mirror as Melissa brushed her hair. Still frowning, she went into the kitchen to see what the family was having for breakfast.

Mother looked sunshiny in her daffodil yellow housecoat. The smell of pancakes and sausage and blueberry syrup was enough to brighten most anyone. But not Melissa.

“Good morning,” Mother said, smiling cheerfully.

“It’s a grumpy gray day,” Melissa answered. “How can anyone smile?”

Just then little Marcy toddled in. She wrapped her arms around Mother’s legs and smiled her biggest two-year-old smile.

How can Marcy be expected to understand gloomy gray days? Melissa wondered.

Then Michael bounced into the kitchen wearing his new shoes. “These shoes make me jump higher than my old ones!” he laughed. “I like them!”

Michael is happy because he has new shoes, Melissa thought. And Mother is cheerful just because—well, because mothers are supposed to be cheerful.

Melissa could hear Martin whistling upstairs as he finished dressing in his room. Before long he came into the kitchen smiling and looking relieved. “Boy, am I glad it’s raining today!” he said. “Now I can work on my model airplane and finish that book report for school.”

Melissa was really puzzled. She was just going to ask Martin how he could be happy on such a dismal day when Dad came into the kitchen. He smiled at everyone and gave Mother a big kiss.

Everyone laughed and talked while they ate breakfast—everyone, that is, except Melissa. She simply could not understand how anyone could be happy on a grumpy gray day.

After breakfast while Melissa was helping with the dishes, Mother said, “Why don’t you run over to Grandpa’s after the dishes are done? I’m sure he would like to see you.”

Melissa hesitated, thinking about the drizzly cold rain. Still, it might be fun to see Grandpa, she finally decided, and she put on her boots and raincoat and hurried out the door.

Grandpa lived about three blocks away. By the time Melissa stepped onto his porch, she was wet and cold and grumpier than ever.

Grandpa heard Melissa and called for her to come inside.

Entering the house, Melissa smelled dry wood burning in the large living room fireplace. Grandpa was sitting in a tall rocking chair by the window, and the pleasant glow from the burning wood brought a sunshiny warmth into the air.

“Hi, Grandpa,” Melissa greeted him. “It’s another dismal gray day outside.”

Grandpa looked a little surprised. “What makes you say it’s dismal?” he asked.

“Well, it’s raining!” Melissa replied impatiently. Doesn’t anyone understand about grumpy gray days? she wondered.

Grandpa sat quietly for a while looking out the window at something that seemed faraway and beautiful.

Melissa looked too, but all she could see was gloomy wet rain soaking the grass, the trees, and the street. Everything was gray and grumpy!

Grandpa suddenly asked, “What do you see?”

“Gray rain,” said Melissa frowning.

“Look closer and use some imagination,” Grandpa suggested. He watched Melissa for a few moments and then asked, “Now what do you see?”

“Well,” said Melissa, looking very closely at the window itself, “I see tiny clear raindrops splashing and falling against the glass.” A smile started to grow around her mouth. “And when a drop holds still, it really doesn’t hold still,” she added. “It shimmers and shivers!”

Grandpa nodded. “What color would you call it?” he asked.

“Mostly crystal clear,” answered Melissa. “But I see sparkling speckles of red and gold and blue if I squint my eyes almost shut.”

“Then rain is not really gray,” said Grandpa, raising an eyebrow as if he too were making a discovery.

“Well, not close up,” Melissa agreed. She looked out across the yard at the rain for several minutes. “In fact,” Melissa continued, “it’s not really plain old gray even far away. It’s a mysterious foggy blue gray.”

Now she understood what Grandpa had seen. This rain is really beautiful, she thought.

“Come out to the kitchen and we’ll have some cookies,” Grandpa said as he stood up. “It only takes a little imagination to make a raindrop into a diamond.”

That night when Melissa snuggled into bed, it was still raining. She thought about her visit with Grandpa and what she had learned about raindrops.

Who knows, she thought sleepily, maybe I can make homework into diamonds, and maybe even washing dishes. Rainy days aren’t so bad after all!

And Melissa drifted off to sleep, a happy smile on her lips.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Charles Quilter