Watching the weather, hoping and praying for rain
Elaine Kolodziej is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
One OpinionAugust 12, 2011 | 1,650 views | 2 comments
(This column, with slight edits, ran in The La Vernia News last week and was published in the Wilson County News on Aug. 10, 2011.)
To this day, I have an inexplicable urge to watch the 10 o’clock news, mostly to see the weather.
Never mind that the forecast is dubious at best, and the weatherman casts a spell so that I’m zoned out even before I hear it; I am compelled to watch. This habit stems back to growing up during the infamous seven-year drought.
These days, whether or not I hear the forecast, I know what it will be: “Hot and dry.” This could have been recorded a month ago and repeated nightly.
You have to hand it to the weathermen, though. They try so hard. Usually they throw in a 10-percent chance of rain, just to give hope. They jumped the gun, however, when they predicted “3 to 5 inches” of rain with Tropical Storm Don. How we hoped and prayed that the forecasters got it right, but that was not to be.
We continue to hope and pray for anything -- a hurricane, tornado, whatever, as long as it contains moisture, but our drought continues unabated. We still have most of the hottest month of the year to get through.
I am reminded of the drought back in the 1950s. I was a first-grader in 1952. We spent a lot of time playing -- not watching television or using video games -- we just played. We used our imagination to create our own entertainment. The girls would make “houses” in the dirt on the playground at school. Our “walls” were tiny terraces of dirt that formed squares so that we could go in and out of our “rooms.”
There was no grass, whether it was from children constantly playing, or because of the drought, we just played in the dirt underneath the bushes.
The dirt on the playground was powder-dry, but the dirt at our home was even more powdery. My parents’ farm was on a hill of caliche, which is the white chalk-like substance that in places was hard as rocks, and in other areas was just a white, chalky powder because of the lack of rain.
Daddy was a farmer, but had to take on a job (or several) to make ends meet when there were no crops and 11 mouths to feed. He would come home after his night job, often so tired that he’d shut off the engine of his old truck and fall asleep where he parked. Our mother would eventually go find him when he failed to come into the house.
Those were the days when I learned to watch the weather. How exciting it was when we occasionally watched the distant lightning, so far away that there was no thunder. Still, it gave us hope. Or, we might spot the puffy little cloud and imagine what it would be like if it would actually develop into a rain cloud.
“Did you get any rain?” That was always the topic of conversation in those days. Would it ever rain? It eventually did rain, of course, and life continued as before. This is Texas, after all.
Rain is again the topic of conversation, not just for farmers and ranchers, but for everyone in Texas. The drought conditions are as severe, if not more so, than they ever were, but we continue to hope -- and pray:
Father, You said whatsoever any two or more come together and agree and ask in Your Son’s name, it shall be given. We come to You, humbly, and ask that You bring down the rain to our parched lands. Our farmers and ranchers need it desperately, as well as our firefighters. We ask this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.