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They’re Playing Our Song

June 25, 2012

Clare and I met when we were students at Furman University. We became engaged at Thanksgiving of our senior year. As our love for each other grew, we wanted to have a special song. We considered several popular tunes as possibilities. One night, we were driving back to campus when it started raining. Clare said, “We could just let the rain be our song.”

The rain is a song that never goes out of style. For us it has special significance. When we were married on a hot June day in Leesville, South Carolina, we left family and friends for our honeymoon. Before we had traveled ten miles, rain started falling. Clare said, “They’re playing our song.”

Some people seem to have the attitude that rain is bad weather. An old Arabian proverb says, “All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.”

The Navajo Indians of the desert southwest depend on storm clouds gathering over the mountains to bring moisture to their parched earth. The Navajo people make a distinction between male rain and female rain. Male clouds arise quickly, rain hard, and are over quickly. Female clouds bring long, slow, gentle rain, the kind that water deeply and nourish the soil.

Any farmer or home gardener has an appreciation for a gentle downpour every now and then. Some even declare that fruits, vegetables, and flowers are more productive when watered naturally than when they are irrigated artificially.

When Clare and I travel, almost always by automobile, we enjoy taking the back roads. The blue line highways are far more picturesque than the Interstate. While the trip may take longer, the pace is more relaxing and the countryside delightful. Driving past a cotton field or a tobacco farm, a saw mill, or a peach orchard is a pleasant reminder of our heritage. Meandering through a small Southern town with its quaint homes and stately churches is study in regional architecture.

Several weeks ago we were returning to Spartanburg from Georgetown. Somewhere on highway 521 outside of Manning, the heavens opened. We were in the midst of a thunderstorm. The downpour was so intense and visibility so limited that I turned into a convenience store parking lot to wait for the rain to pass.

With thunder booming and lightning flashing, I said, “Clare, they’re playing our song.”

“They’re playing it too loud,” she said.

The following day, I found an article from a Canadian Motor Club offering safety tips for driving in the rain.

Most of the motorists driving during a heavy downpour turn the windshield wipers on to the highest, fastest speed. Even then visibility is still bad. In that situation, try wearing your sunglasses. Canadian Military Drivers have done this for years and have discovered that visibility is much improved. You will still see the drops on the windshield, but not the sheets of rain falling. You can see the road more clearly. Polarized sunglasses help eliminate the blindness from the kick up spray of passing trucks. Make sure you always have a pair of sunglasses in your car.

When driving in a blowing snowstorm, especially at night, yellow fog lights make those big snowflakes virtually invisible. However, in rain and fog, yellow fog lights are not effective. Under those conditions white fog lights give much better clarity. Here in the Upstate, white is the better choice.

A 36-year-old woman had an accident several weeks ago and totaled her car. A resident of Ontario, she was traveling in a moderate rain shower. Suddenly her car began to skid and flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very alarmed.

When she explained to the investigating officer what had happened, he told her something that every driver needs to know. Never drive in the rain using your cruise control. The woman thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain. But the officer told her that if the cruise control is on when your car begins to hydroplane, the tires lose contact with the wet pavement. The car will accelerate, making you take off like an airplane.  Use the cruise control only when the pavement is dry.

As much as we have enjoyed driving in the rain, at this point in our lives Clare and I would just as soon be at home. Last week, we were babysitting for two of our granddaughters. That evening, just after their parents picked them up, it started to rain.

“Let’s sit on the porch,” Clare suggested.

I went outside and settled into a big oak rocker. Clare followed with two cups of fresh coffee. We sat in the dark, talking, sipping, and listening to the rain.

Later, when we turned in for the night, they kept right on playing our song until morning.

Kirk H. Neely
© June 2012

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