To every thing there is a season, especially for old folks like me who enjoys folklore; while I’m not sure how accurate they are, it is a fine reminder of just how unpredictable the weather can be. If you are one of those folks who likes to “keep an eye” on the weather ahead…here’s a few things you might want to think about…the installment of some old time and wonderful folklore.
• Flowers smell best, just before it rains.
• Trout jump high, when rain is nigh.
• Knots get much tighter, just before it rains.
• And…Evening red and morning gray are sure signs of a fine day!
I’ve said all along…as a sure-fire, 100% Old Folklore Prognosticator, if you want to know for sure what the weather will be, I haven’t discovered a better way yet than an ordinary rock placed on your front lawn. If the rock is wet…it’s for sure…raining.
I remember believing, when I was a kid, if rain was predicted (by an old folk) and we thought the rain would interfere with our plans for the day, all we need do was sing: RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY, COME AGAIN SOME OTHER DAY!
It’s raining as I write on this quiet Wednesday evening, and I glance out the glass storm door admiring the freshly mowed lawn and spot my rain barrel…yes, I have a rain barrel, but it’s not for the purpose of “catching rain water.” It’s turned upside down. It’s just for looks, a reminder of when just about every house around had a rain barrel conveniently and permanently placed by the back door. Mama made sure we always had a rain barrel and Mama never complained when it rained. She was happy to know she would have plenty of rain water for the next wash day.
Some families had cisterns, an artificial reservoir for storing rain water. Most of the dug wells around contained hard, coal mine water and what made it worse, as we know, commercial detergents didn’t catch on until after World War II. Only bar laundry soap was available. Brands like P&G & Crystal White. One half of the bar on the rub-board and one half cut in flakes and dissolved in the wash-pot to bleach the white clothes. Homemade lye soap was also used in the soft rainwater, making Mama happy. She loved “Hanging Out” a pretty washing.
No, Mama never complained when it rained. It was much easier for her to dip the rainwater from the rain barrel than draw it from the well. She would drain the barrel when it became almost empty after washday, so the water wouldn’t become stagnant, causing wiggle-tails to develop, and later mosquitoes.
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. The sun is trying to pop out as I put an end to this week’s column.
As an old folk who loves folklore, I also love the color green that I now see on every leaf and blade, brought on by the early morning and late evening spring rains. And, I love the sunshine that lightens my mood and no matter how many seasons of spring have come and gone, I’ll never get over the miracle of life starting all over again; while I keep holding onto childhood memories and my half-way beliefs in weather predictions.
Footnote: Construction was started in March 1969 to lay the city water line in Jenny Lind.