How to Make it Rain

If it doesn't rain soon in Frog Pond Holler, they're going to have to change the name to Dusty Crevice. It's dry ya'll. There are fires popping up all over, allergies are going berserk, it's rough. We need rain. I'm giving it another day or so, if we don't get a good soaking I'm gonna have to start channeling my ancestors and resort to some ancient rain attracting activities. I can't divulge the details, but I can tell you that it will involve nudity, a bonfire, some chanting and a bottle of Boones Farm.

There was a drought the first summer we spent here, living on the outskirts of town, way down in a holler on the edge of a cow pasture, just below the cemetery. The little old lady we rented from was spooky quiet, she sort of gave me the willies. The Amazon, who was still just a little runtazon at the time, liked her because she'd let her go with her to "pick eggs." I wasn't crazy about living so close to the cow pasture either, cows are crafty, stealthy critters. Yeah I know, they look like big oafs, batting those big eyelashes, tails swatting back and forth, but I'm telling ya, they're up to no good. There's nothing more unsettling for a city girl than to be standing at the stove cooking up some hamburgers then to turn around and see that a cow has gotten out and is standing with it's big wet nose plastered against the storm door staring at you.

It knew.

Anyway, about the spooky old lady and the drought. I had just had surgery (I was having one of those years), I was nervous living there and being by myself all day in the middle of nowhere. I was walking through the house one morning and as I passed the kitchen window and glanced out at the embankment just outside, I saw a huge (they're always huge) black snake stretched out in the red clay. Now, it's one thing to see a snake outside as it slithers off to do it's thing, it's quite another to have one laying right outside the window, especially when you're as freaked out by them as I am.

I called Ma at work, who did what she always does when I'm having a crisis... she giggled, then suggested I take a dose of pain medication while she called the spooky landlady. Before I'd even gotten the pill down, I saw her coming up the dirt road from her little brick house wielding a hoe like she was going off to war. I wasn't sure if I was more afraid of the snake or her. I heard her out there banging around and hollerin'. I just curled up on the couch in the fetal position and prayed that it was all just a bad dream and I'd wake up and be back in Virginia, in close proximity to a 7-11.

When it was all over, I heard her knocking on the door. I was half afraid she'd be waving the dang thing around out there. Luckily she wasn't.

"I got it. I hung it down yonder over the fence rail, seein' how thar's a drought. Rain'll come 'fore mornin'," and with that she turned to head back to her house. I thanked her and quickly closed the door. I thought about what she said, chalked it up to my medication and laid down for a nap. When Ma came home she asked if the landlady had taken care of my visitor. I told her what she said, about a drought and the fence rail then explained that I'd probably misunderstood.

"No, that's what you do to make it rain," she explained.

"Huh?"

"If you kill a snake and hang it over the fence, it'll rain before morning."

"Oooookay. Well the weatherman said there's no chance of rain for a few days at least," I reasoned. Ma just smiled at me.

The thunder woke us up in the middle of the night. It came a gully washer before morning, but not up in town, just down in that holler.

Just so ya'll know, I won't be testing that old wives tale this time. I'm not getting that close to a snake and I don't have a fence to hang it on. We do have that possum carcass hanging in the tree though, you reckon that counts?