Posted on

Right as Rain

I saw the leaves withering along the sides of the road as I drove from Bonaire (in Middle Georgia) to Ohoopee last weekend. Wilted. Thirsty. Dying. Brown. Dead. I passed acres and acres of corn fields crying out for water along my route.

One of the great pleasures of my life is seeing large fields filled with perfectly straight rows of healthy, dark green corn stalks — their tassels tousled by the warm summer breezes. Miles and miles of healthy corn fields make me smile. Snow-white cotton fields make me smile, as well, as do Vidalia onions in the ground just before they are harvested.

Seeing tobacco fields makes me both happy and nostalgic, as I remember summer days of my childhood spent at my Grandmother Jarriel’s house in Tattnall County. In that era, my mother, my aunts and uncles, and my older cousins all worked the tobacco fields (also referred to as “backer” fields). I was too small to help, but I remember seeing the large, verdant tobacco leaves. Last week, Mom and I saw a magnificent stand of tobacco plants basking in the sun on Hub Jarriel Road. Some of the plants had shot up flower heads like they were topped with pink, ruffled crowns. I pulled off to the side of the road and put the truck into park so we could take in the scenery. I aimed my camera at the tobacco field, so I could capture the beauty and send to my husband, who didn’t make the trip with me.

A few turns later (a few miles away), we saw struggling corn just outside of Collins. The tobacco had been born into privilege, thanks to the wonders of steely irrigation systems. The corn was not as lucky. It was on its own, left to look toward the sky and hope for a shower. It was in distress.

Sometimes the clouds provide. Other times, there’s not a cloud in the sky. No clouds — no hope.

“Isn’t that sad?” my mother said as we drove by the dying corn field. “Lord, we need rain.”

Rain was a major topic of conversation last week, or should I say, the lack of rain.

“Y’all get any rain over there last night?” I heard Mom ask everyone who called the house last week. She and I monitored the skies and humidity each day. Every morning, she pulled up the weather forecast on her iPad and relayed the chances of rain for each day to me.

On Tuesday afternoon, we sat in a waiting area with a dozen strangers at Georgia Eye Institute in Vidalia. Suddenly, in the distance, we all heard an almost inaudible rumble in the distance, and everyone sitting in the uncomfortable chairs lifted their heads with a sudden burst of attention and optimism.

“Well, that sounds promising,” a woman said out loud. “We sure need it,” a man echoed. “We haven’t had a drop at our house in over two weeks. Everything’s parched.” Like a Sunday morning church service, others in the room spoke low “Amens.” In this age of electric vehicles, miracle vaccines, and space travel, man’s existence still relies heavily on the weather. Specifically, both our commercial farmers and backyard vegetable garden growers need certain conditions, and last week, that certain condition included rain — but not too much rain — to grow food for human and animal consumption.

At Mom’s Ohoopee home, we watched clouds develop and disappear several times last week. We could see the streams of water in the sky along a faraway horizon, and we were happy for the people in the community that got rain, but it kept missing us. It was disappointing. We continued from page

moved the water sprinkler all around the yard and garden. The okra, squash and swamp hibiscus plants thanked us and sprang back to life.

Then finally one afternoon, the house grew dark around 3 p.m., and we heard a loud crack over the house. Mom and I rushed to the windows like two children running to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning to see what presents Santa left for us. Two minutes later, we heard large drops hitting the roof. It progressed into a full blown gully washer. We watched the rain as if we were watching a movie or a theater performance. Water poured off the edge of the roof, and it kept coming down — for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, the water line on the rain gauge suggested we got an inch of the wet stuff at Ohoopee.

And just like that — everything was right as rain again.

“Well, wasn’t that wonderful?” Mom asked rhetorically.

I nodded. The phone rang, and my mother picked up the receiver.

“Did y’all get some of that beautiful rain?” she asked.

And the cycle continues. Thank you, Lord, for the rain.

Recent Death Notices