We were spending some time with our daughter and her family this week. They live out in the country in a far flung subdivision. While there a glorious and wonderful thunderstorm rumbled through the area. I stood out on their roofed deck and drank in the glory of rain as I used to do on the farm. The rain came down in sheets, straight down, a Noah rain.
July and August on the farm of my youth the heat and humidity rose to heights almost unbearable. No one had air conditioning and the heat and humidity would press down as a huge wet woolen blanket its breath fetid and odiferous like that of a huge animal. We were used to it and would work at putting up hay or plowing corn or in the garden sweating like a glass of iced tea in the park in August. Chickens walked about with their wings held out or hunkered in the shade. Pigs spent time in the mud wallow. Cows stood in the shade. Brownie, the dog, lay about in the shade, panting, tongue lolling.
Slowly huge white clouds would form mercifully blocking some of the sun. Almost imperceptibly at first then with greater urgency the wind's breath changed as it began to cool and smell different. Dad would say, "It's gonna weather, we better get this hay in the barn."
At dusk thunder would sound in the West sending the message, "Rain is coming." It was faint, grumbling at first like a distant diesel freight train. The clouds darkened blocking more of the sun. Lightning glimmered in the West like a flash camera. Bursts of wind carried the news, "Get ready, rain is coming soon." Curtains billowed out in the house; doors slammed suddenly making us jump. Everyone hurried to bring in the wind driven wash (laundry) from the solar powered dryer.
At first, huge drops of rain splooshed onto the ground, roofs and sidewalk. They were cold as dad often said, his shirt wet with sweat, body hot from work, "Those drops can almost cave a feller in." Lightning was closer, cracking, ripping the air apart. Thunder roared in an effort to scare us. Rain now came in a deluge. The smell of rain on dust and the landscape is intoxicating, blessedly cool and refreshing. Now it peppers the house like a snare drummer. Lightning and thunder roared about the farm in an effort to frighten everyone. Rain pours down trying to swamp the barn and other buildings. Suddenly the wind shifts and eases a bit then comes back with a vengeance. Slowly the rain eases.
Ms. Lightning and Mr. Thunder realizing their bullying has not worked on us so they move along. Lightning skips ahead looking for more victims. Thunder stomps across fields and forests, growling, thumping, and making threats to those ahead. The wind abates and the rain slackens.
Slowly life returns to something normal. Chickens peek out of their house, hogs lurch out and slam back into the mud. What remaining sunlight is available casts a pale yellow hue. Trees adjust their leaves like a woman unsure if her dress is hanging properly.
Dad would say, "That was a million dollar rain." He always averred that we needed a half to an inch of rain every week to make a good crop. I miss that rain. And dad.
My website Larryvandeventer.com - Read about my books, buy them, and my columns. Larry Vandeventer grew up North of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State U. -- four times. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.