* There is the sound of rain on the roof. Decent rain. It is very welcome, for the nearby town is looking very brown and it is said that farmers are complaining.
My next door neighbour and I were conversing today. We rarely get the chance to chat, for I am in and out with busy-ness - and we do have a big wooden fence with just enough gap for recognition.
The weather was mentioned. When you are a gardener, when you live in this neck of the woods - and in a few of the industries in which I am currently employed ** - weather and all the nuances of the topic are considered part of a rich cultural exchange.
"When I was a boy" he said. He said it in the twisted rope of his version of English, learned as a young migrant in outback towns, wrapped around his native Italian - although it isn't Italian, it is the name of a region that I can never quite grasp as it has never made the leap from the native tongue to my plummy Au-strai-li-an ear. ***
"When I was a boy." From the stories that he tells, this boyhood was on the sides of Italian hills in a tiny village with poverty as its main career path. There were many of them. They were the original boat people. They were invited.
"When I was a boy" he said "there was a big drought. Everyone was complaining."
There is richness in telling a story with crocheted stitches of sounds and syllables rolled and sung.
"Everyone went to the church, to the priest, the man who is in the business of organizing miracles and asked for his intervention for it to rain."
On the Sunday, everyone was gathered in the church and the priest said "Okay. I have decided I will make it rain on Monday."
A farmer at the back right of the church stood up. "Sorry Father. But you can't make it rain on Monday, I have hay to harvest on Monday."
The priest thought for a minute and then said "All right then, how about Thursday?" but a few of them had problems with Thursday too. It was a busy time of the year.
"Saturday?" But that was market day, and market day is never a good day for rain.
The priest considered. "Okay, I tell you what then. I have decided to just let it happen the old-fashioned way."
The next door neighbour smiled. "There are a few lessons in that." he said. "Farmers are always complaining, you can't make everybody happy and never trust a priest".
* The things you learn on a surf.
** Part of the "busy-ness" is three part-time jobs - and I honestly enjoy them all. Its like a job cocktail, with private sector, government sector and community sector giving me the sweet, the sour and the satisfaction of umami with a side-serve of healthy human interaction.
*** There have been many comments about our "accent" over the years. When I was at boarding-school, people could not place us by our accents - but our accent is the accent of our mother, our most constant influence, and the accent of her mother, brought up by spinster aunts in a prim, scholarly household, and their accents and the accent of their mother, ingrained in history as the grandmother who came into a marriage with ten thousand pounds and was left with pride as opposed to the grandmother who came into a marriage with a thousand pounds and could count on exactly that when widowed - or was it the other way around?
So - is it raining your way?
So - is it raining your way?