When I was a boy rainy days were special days, holidays actually, especially in summer. A rainy day meant that Daddy could not work in the fields, so he would be around the house, very likely working on some piece of farm equipment in the machine shed, but still that was near the house and we could hear him when he was banging on some piece of metal. We could go and at least see him while he was working. If he was welding, though, we knew to stay away.
Sometimes, if the rain was particularly hard, he would be curious about the water level in the nearby river. One road, not far from our house, had a low water bridge to cross the river. This “bridge” was a cement slab that allowed you to drive across the river bed when the water was at its normal low level. I suppose there were some culverts in the cement to allow the water to pass through, but not enough when there was a hard rain. If he went to see, he would take us kids with him. This was a treat. Going anywhere with Daddy was a treat.
I remember one particularly rainy day when he took me to look at the river level. Half the neighborhood appeared to be there. Pickup trucks, and a few cars, lined both sides of the road to the river for nearly half a mile. We had never had to walk so far along that road in the rain just to get to the river. When we got there we saw why. Normally, the high water in the river was a foot or two above the low water bridge. Not this day. On this day, the water nearly filled the river from bank to bank. Everyone was amazed and compared this high water with other, but lesser, high water levels they had seen. And, of course, the neighbors caught up with other news as well.
While I was away from home attending college, that low water bridge was replaced with a normal one which you drive across level with the rest of the land. It is no fun. Current drivers have no idea how exciting the location used to be not so long ago!
At my childhood home, rain announced itself immediately. Every little drop was heard. We had a large back porch. It was covered with a sheet metal roofing. Every drop could be heard. This sound, announcing the rainy day holiday, was enchanting. A steady rain was soothing. During downpours the music of the rain made it impossible to hear anything else; not a bad thing when your mother is a screamer. I miss that sound of rain. I can barely hear rain on the roof of the house I have now.
Rain also brought cooler air. In the summer, in a house with no air conditioning or wind circulation because of the trees around, this cool air was very welcome indeed. Rainy days were the only days in summer when we could use the oven and bake, so those were the days for making cakes and cookies! We didn’t bake too much though, the oven would heat half the house.
My father did custom baling for other farmers. One day he had expected to go bale one man’s hay, but it was raining. The phone rang. It was that farmer wondering where my father was. My Dad was dumbfounded: it was raining. “Not over here,” the farmer said. He only lived a couple miles away, but the rain had not reached his place. Amazed, Dad drove off in the rain to bale hay!
Now, as a retired adult, on rainy days, I will often take a break from whatever work I’m doing just to drive around in a part of the countryside I seldom or never otherwise go, just for a little rainy day exploration treat. Rainy days have not lost their fascination for me!
And, what may be hidden by the rain that is just out of sight?