Chronicles Of Me
When it Rains at the Rains County Fair
No matter how dry gulch dusty life gets in small Texas towns, there is always a formula for bringing rain! This formula is not the ritual beating of drums, nor is it some frenzied dance of native agriculturalists or rockets fired by rainmakers but falls more in the category of a meteorological Murphy's Law.
It works something like this:
The chance of heavy rainfall is directly proportional to the distance you are from your pickup truck with the windows rolled down.
We may also express it in this way:
The probability of torrential downpours may be calculated by the number of bails of hay in the field, multiplied by the number of hay haulers who did not show up, and adding the number who left after picking up the first bail!
By far, though, my favorite formula for rainmaking is chronological:
The coming of the Rains County Fair!
In those days it always rained during the fair, or at least it seemed that way to me, and I am the one telling this story, so…
Now I am not certain that this is always true. My tendency, however, is to believe that it is. I don’t recall having paid much attention to it as a child, but I do have definite memories of this occurring, on such a regular basis that it became ingrained in my memory.
There were always weeks and weeks of hundred-plus temperatures and rain-free days preceding the annual event and at least one night of choking dust on the midway before the monsoons began.
When the rains came the dust evolved into ankle-deep mud mingled with cow manure and flowed down the path by the cattle show barn but none of the kids seemed to mind.
The last few days before the fair find feed stores buzzing with anticipation of the stock show competition. The owners are busy selling their wares and offering help and advice to stock show competitors. You can find kindly old gentlemen birds perched on bags of horse and mule feed discussing the weather and discussing the need for a good old gully washer.
“Sure has been a hot summer!”
“Hay’s burning up in the field.”
“I don’t know what we are going to do if we don't get some rain.”
“Sell our cows I guess.”
At that point, someone will mention the coming of the fair, and that we always get some rain during the fair! All agreed.
I suppose that it has occurred to some on the fair committee that they could change the date of the fair to a less rainy time, but as one of the old ranchers asked me, “Why would we want to do that? We always need a good rain this time of year!