Only four of us made it out today. After all, it was cold, it was windy enough to hold wet flags horizontal, and yes, they were wet because it was rainy.
Make no mistake: celebrate the rain. The Valley of the Sun needs every drop it can get. This isn't the disaster of California right now. We're just getting the storm's leavings. But cold, windy and rainy makes for some very chilling demonstrating.
Most of us don't march, however much we support various other causes. We don't stand for hours, chanting. We spread out along the sidewalk, avoiding blocking it, with our folding chairs, holding our choices of signs du jour in a setting with a scattering of sandwich boards, banners, and flags supporting our cause, and smile and wave back at those who honk and wave.
We try to ignore those who give us dirty looks, those who signal we're number one but forget which finger to use for that, those who feel a need to yell at us their version of how wanting peace is opposed to what their version of Jesus stands for. Somehow they're never complimentary, leaving us to wonder: just who would Jesus bomb?
We will talk to those who stop to discuss what we're doing in a serious manner. We even try to give directions where possible, though we found it impossible to assist one elderly lady today who was trying to figure out how to find the repair shop she left her car at when she didn't remember its name. This area, after all, is not one we regularly inhabit, not filled with businesses we frequently patronize... aside from a couple who don't mind if we use their restrooms.
Most people smile as they pass, waving or flashing a peace sign with fingers if they're too shy to honk as most of our signs request. But today was not a "shy" day. Perhaps it was our fortitude of being out even in this weather. Last time, two weeks ago, they weren't very shy about honking either. The weather was fine then. We believe they're becoming scared, outraged at what's happening with our new king... uh, President, and more willing to be seen and heard supporting nearly any cause that shows other folks around them who are willing to be out in public and take a stand.
Our group has been demonstrating for years. I started a couple years ago, back when I rode my scooter from the car to the site. I needed to take time off when I was recovering from my new knees, taking those really really good drugs. But I didn't take today off despite the weather. The others had rain jackets. Not me. I mean, who are you kidding: Arizona? Rain? I did have layers, a windbreaker to cover my legs, and a brand new umbrella. I bought it for last time because it was actually supposed to rain then, but, hey, Arizona. Today it got some use.
And I got chilled.
I didn't realize how chilled for a while. Most of the group drives about a half mile to our usual restaurant for brunch afterwards, and we sat there talking for over two hours. Nice and cozy. You'd think I'd have thawed. But once I arrived home, even under a blanket and the dog, I couldn't get warm. So I went to bed and slept away a couple hours, waking up nearly warm.
I'd do it again, though, grateful for both the rain and a chance to be out there publicly for at least one of the causes I support. But I'll have to check stores around the area and hunt for a rain poncho. They are great at keeping the wind away too. I know, from having and using a couple in the closet up in Minnesota.
You know: where it actually ... rains! Even if it's just to provide us an abundant supply of mosquitoes.