Let there be rain on earth, and let it begin with me

Friday, June 29, 2012

Folks, I've done the best I can. I have tried every way I know to make it rain.

Honest.

I've washed my car every time a cloud slipped over the western horizon.

While I don't water my lawn, I have watered the patch of grass in the back that separates several flower beds. A couple of times it has rained a bit when I watered the flower beds, but not enough to keep the front lawn from turning brown like yours.

I thought about building a bonfire in the front yard and doing a rain dance. But my yard is drier than Colorado right now, and look what happens when you start a fire in conditions like that. I'd hate to be responsible for the destruction by fire of Cape Girardeau and surrounding towns, all in the quest of a decent rainfall.

Once, when a promising line of dark clouds slinked into the area by way of Bollinger County, I dared God to strike the tree I was under with lightning. I double dared. I tripled dared.

And what about the time, like my favorite pro golfer Lee Trevino, I held a one-iron -- that's a very long metal golf club -- high in the air during a rainless thunderstorm? It was Trevino who used that method to protect himself on the golf course when lightning bolts were blasting all around him. His reasoning was that not even God could hit a one-iron. But I kept thinking that maybe this would be the time God got his game together and hit my one-iron, followed by a generous downpour of soggy raindrops.

Dear readers, I don't know of many other newspaper columnists who are willing to risk their lives in the hopes of producing a bit of moisture for your struggling tomato plants. But I'll do whatever I think might work.

Speaking of Lee Trevino: My wife and I lived in Dallas during those years Trevino was making a name for himself. He was a genuine hometown hero in Dallas, particularly at a certain Tex-Mex restaurant where he liked to eat. It was always party time when he was around. That place served the best nachos ever.

This was at a time in our nation's cultural history when nachos were pretty much limited to Texas. We moved from Texas, where good Mexican food could be found on just about every corner, to New York City, where there were no -- none, nada -- Mexican restaurants. There were Cuban and Puerto Rican and Spanish and Haitian restaurants in New York. Even an Icelandic restaurant. And Polish and Russian and anything European you might desire. And African. And Asian too, of course. But no honest-to-goodness Tex-Mex.

As a result of this situation, I can rightfully claim that my wife served the first nachos ever eaten in New York. Doritos were finding there way onto supermarket shelves that had been dominated by potato chips and Fritos. A Dorito topped with a bit of Campbell's bean-with-bacon soup (the closest thing to refried beans) and a slice of cheddar cheese with a jalapeo pepper slice and baked briefly in a hot oven and voil! Wrong language. But you get the picture. And a Jewish couple, he was a Hungarian Cuban refugee and concert pianist, who lived in the same apartment building on New York's upper west side across 72nd Street from the Dakota where John Lennon lived -- and died -- and where "Rosemary's Baby" was filmed, ate those nachos while Henry played Beethoven on his Steinway concert grand that was bigger than the apartment-size living room so the piano stuck out into the hall a bit, and we all declared those nachos were just about the most delicious thing we had ever eaten.

You know what else? Just as we started devouring these faux Mex-Tex treats it started pouring down rain on a metropolitan island caught in the baked heat of a New York summer. Ever since, I always look out the window to see if it's raining when we eat nachos. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn't.

Maybe that's what we need. A party. A party where everyone brings something, potluck style, something that no one here has ever eaten before. Something tasty, not weird.

Something that appeases Whoever Is in Charge of Rain.

That's the best I can do for now. If you think this is a good idea, let me know and start cooking. The sooner we pull this off, the sooner we can start mowing our lawns again.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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