Archive for Thursday, July 29, 2004

Talking about that rain … sort of

July 29, 2004

There can be only one topic this week and that would have to be rain. The four-plus inches that fell Saturday has just left me in awe.

As we all know, this has been a summer of rain. Love it, like it, hate it or whatever, there's no denying it. Official totals from Lawrence show it. For July, we're at 9.64 inches, way above the normal 3.46. For the year, we're at 28.73 inches, up from the normal 23.11.

Of course, those are only official numbers. It seems to me like we always get more rain around Baldwin, so I'd say we're way beyond those totals.

I love rain. I have always loved rain. That probably comes mostly from being born and raised in southwest Kansas where it just didn't happen that often. It meant a rare day off from milo fields and other tractor-related jobs of my teenager years.

But, this year's rain goes beyond that. I'm not even going to go down the getting hay in the barn road. Anyone who knows anything about it knows that this summer has been darn near impossible on the hay. I don't even want to talk about it.

This summer has been two days of rain, maybe three without, then more, then less. It's just enough make any Riverboat gambler back off laying odds on farm work.

Of course, not many are involved with farm work, but they're certainly affected by the rain. Anyone with a lawn knows it's been a matter of mow when you can, because you don't know when it's going to rain next. Plus, all the rain keeps the lawn growing and growing and growing. Again, I don't want to talk about it.

The rain has also been a big factor in many summertime activities, most notably baseball and softball. My sons, Brett and Anth, played on a softball team this summer, the first time they've done that in years. It's been a real hoot to watch, but there have been rainouts and I know I'm not alone on those. In fact, I don't want to talk about that, either.

But, I don't know, Saturday's four-plus inches hit me harder than usual. For one, I wasn't expecting rain. For another, how can you ever expect four inches?

Well, the Thomas the Tank Engine folks sure didn't. That was one of my first thoughts as I eye-balled the rain gauge early Saturday morning and there was already two inches in it. And, the rain was not stopping.

I had been out to the depot on and off through the usual two week run of the famed little engine. It has become one of my favorite times of the year. I so enjoy all the excitement of those kids seeing Thomas and living the experience. It doesn't change from year to year and I'm a sucker for it. I can't get enough of it.

I've often put myself in the shoes of the parents there with those youngsters. It looks like so much fun and I'm always jealous. I remember those wonderful days so vividly and would give anything to have them back.

So, Saturday, I did that again. Putting myself in their shoes was awfully soggy. I can't imagine telling the youngster, no, it's raining, we're not going to see Thomas after all. So, they went. I know it couldn't have been a lot of fun slogging around the depot, trying to salvage that "once in a lifetime experience" that the three, four or five year old had been eagerly awaiting for months. Keeping everyone dry was a chore. I'm sure they don't want to talk about the experience, either.

But, what we've got to keep in mind with all this was where were we a year ago at this time. It was drier than a bone. We were in the throws of a drought. The mowers weren't running at all. There wasn't any grass to run them over. Some people were already feeding hay to cattle.

That's not where we're at this year. At the risk of turning the tap completely off, we can definitely say we're out the drought. Now, that's something I want to talk about.

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