We Never Criticize Rain

It is hard to imagine a more satisfying set of sounds than thunder followed by raindrops followed by robins singing.

Living in North Dakota, where we are usually no more than two inches of rainfall away from disaster, we have a special point of view.

I remember hearing anti-rain songs and poems, ("Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day, little Johnny wants to play") when I was a child.  They absolutely baffled me.  I had never heard of a place where rain was not welcomed with joy every time it fell.

Besides, I knew perfectly well that my mother would never have tolerated it if I said terrible things like that.

She didn't wash our mouths out with soap, but she had a way of shushing her daughters that told us distinctly when we were on forbidden territory.

One thing we learned was we didn't criticize rain.

It could fall when there was a picnic, when there was a fair or carnival in Cooperstown, when we were supposed to go camping, or the Fourth of July, or any other time.  The other things could wait.  Rain you took when you could get it.

She would never have believed her ears if she could hear the television weather reporters forecasting rain for a weekend and apologizing for the disappointing news.

Last summer the weathermen were more cheerful than I have ever seen them before.  They smiled brightly as they conveyed the news that the weekend weather was going to be good; no clouds, and temperatures in the high eighties for the ninety-first day in a row.

What brought on this dissertation of course was the good news that there was rain again this week, an inch and fourteen hundredths to be exact.  Last week the official report said .99 inch.

Some controlled, well-mannered jubilation is called for I think.  It would be in order to comment that some of the dust got washed off the grass, and now maybe the rhubarb will grow, but chances are we will have hail before long.

That's another thing that's right in our bones in North Dakota: don't get too excited about good news, every silver lining has its cloud.

I can picture a typical North Dakotan at the scene of the biblical flood, complaining at the end of the forty days and nights that it had been a nice little shower and it settled the dust, but it probably came too late for the small grains, and it fell so hard it probably was all going to run off without seeping into the subsoil.

TL by Duna Griggs County Sentinel - Courier, June 3, 1981

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 265

News & Events