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From the Publisher’s Desk – Was that a raindrop or me sweating?

By Keith Whitson

We have had many wonderful events lately in our town and county. For the most part, they have all been blessed with beautiful weather. The next big item on the agenda is the Apple Festival in October.

We now have the span of a month to hope for rain. So, I am looking for some interested readers who will either donate money or help organize the travels of a Native American Indian tribe to Erwin. The purpose is to perform a rain dance.

I have researched this topic and feel we have a good chance of this working, depending on the level of dance skills we are willing to secure. I am not sure how many are needed or what method of transportation is best. The details are still to be worked out.

I thought about “Googling” the technique for us to perform ourselves, but that seems to be a bit risky.

According to, “The steps of the rain dance itself are quite intricate, and unlike circle dances, which are seen in many Native American ceremonies, the men and women stand in separate lines and make zigzagging patterns.”

I would sure hate for us, as amateurs, to get some step wrong in the sequence and stir up a tornado or something worse. It’s not worth the risk.

The website went on to declare, “It is significant that, while many Native American rituals involved only men, or at least, were more concerned with their influence, the rain dance involved both men and women, showing the importance of rain to the entire community. This rain dance was meant to bring rain for the entire year or for a specific season.”

Rain dancing is an equal opportunity ceremony. Man obviously can’s stir up a storm without a woman.

Mark Twain once said, “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”

The weather is so unpredictable anymore. Just because we live in a certain area doesn’t mean we can count on the trends of the past.  We can try to blame El Nino or the ozone or the alignment of the stars.

Are we moving closer to the sun on an eventual course of impact? Did something in space collide with the sun, stoking the fire to a new level of intensity?

This has been one of the hottest summers I can remember.

As a youngster, I loved the summer, partly because school was out. I never remember it being too hot. Many times we would travel to the beach for vacations, where I would spend the entire day in the water and sun. I rode there with no security of a seatbelt, no air conditioning in the car, no sunblock and, somehow, survived.

It seemed the longer I was out, the tanner I got. I don’t recommend that now, knowing what I know. At that time, there was no SPF 100 sunscreen available. The bottle I reached for required drenching your skin in “Banana Boat Sexy Oil.” It wasn’t enough until you felt the sizzle. There was a sense of vacation when you smelled that tropical scent.

Heavier, out of shape, Keith spends most of the day in air conditioning. The fun of hot weather is gone. There isn’t a suntan lotion brand that would keep the sweat from washing the protection away. Most of this body hasn’t seen the sun in years. I don’t even like to look at it while getting dressed and undressed.

“Oh, you’ve got such a good tan,” I hear. “Have you been to the beach,?” they ask. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that this year. No, I am spending hours and hours trying to keep my yard and landscaping happy and alive.

It is, however,  quite relaxing. I listen to music while watering, feel an occasional breeze, and close my eyes and imagine the water hose sound as an ocean wave. I can dream can’t I? I wouldn’t want to actually be there.

What is up with these families loading up the kids and leaving our 90 plus degree weather to go to the beach? Even worse is Disney with no breeze except that found from going 60 mph on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

I know there are other weather extremes and I do pity those poor folks in Louisiana who have had too much rain.

We certainly haven’t reached the extremes that Elijah did in the Bible when everything was drying up. I did look up in the sky recently and thought I saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand, but it turned out to be the remains of a jet stream.

I keep a close watch on my phone’s weather app. It might show 8 a.m. – 80 percent chance of rain; 9:30 a.m. – 50 percent chance; noon – 10 percent; by bedtime, we got zero.

I think my chances of predicting the weather are just about equal with the weatherman. Hmmmm, 50-50. I think I will make a trip to our neighboring Cherokee. Some slot machine playing might turn up enough money for a cooler vacation. If not, I will ask around for some talented rain dancers.

Big Chief Downpour sounds like a good starting point. I will check him out.

Since I write this column early it will probably be raining when you are reading this and will now be senseless.

If it is give me credit for sending positive vibes to Big Chief.