Who’ll Stop the Rain?

Who’ll Stop the Rain?
April showers bring May flowers.
 
Depending on who you believe, those famous words were either first seen in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the late 1300s or appeared in a poem written by the infamous Thomas Tusser a couple hundred years later.
 
They sure as hell have been around my entire life. Growing up, when we were all getting ready to go to school, I remember my older sister always whining when it was raining. “But I just did my hair!” My mother would always reply, “What do you expect, it’s April.”
 
So here are a few things that immediately come to mind when I think of that dreaded precipitation.
 
RAIN DELAYS
This is the very first thing I thought of when I thought about rain. I feel like that says something about me, but I’m not sure what. I hate them. I mean, I really hate them. What’s amazing about this is I haven’t sat through a rain delay in probably about five years and have probably sat through a grand total of about 20 in my lifetime. 
 
But it feels like a hundred. First of all, you sit through a monsoon for about 20 minutes before they call the first delay. I rarely remember to bring an umbrella and even when I do, if the guy in the seat next to me has brought one, it’s really difficult to have the two of them up at the same time. And then the two of you start fighting over umbrella territory.
 
When you finally surrender, you make your way to the concourse where at least you will have a roof over your head. Then you start pigging out on $8 hotdogs and $10 beers. Back in the day of Veterans Stadium, you were allowed to smoke in the concourse which was great if you were a smoker and a living hell if you were not. Rumors would run rampant. “They’re taking off the tarp. Play will resume in 20 minutes!”
 
By the time you would make your way back to your seat, you were greeted with a giant puddle. And no matter how hard you tried to dry it up, once you sat down you were guaranteed to soak your pants.
 
And then there are the games that would start, get delayed, restart and then get delayed again. Meanwhile, you would start wondering if you should call it quits and head home. I remember leaving a Phillies-Pirates game that had been delayed for a third time. As we were walking to the parking lot, a small hurricane broke out and the rain was coming down so hard we couldn’t find our car.
 
Rain delays even annoy me when I’m not at the game. The Phils could be playing in New York and if I walk past my television and see highlights from the 2008 World Series on the screen, then I know they are in a delay and I get to muttering obscenities under my breath. I also despise when I get in my car, turn the game on the radio and I hear Jim Jackson (and I love Jim, by the way) taking phone calls, which immediately tells me they are in some sort of a rain delay.
 
And few things are as excruciating as when it’s a beautiful, sunny day and the second you park the car it begins to rain. Before you even entered the ballpark! Even worse? You have left in the fifth inning, get drenched, and then it stops raining the second you get to your car. Oh brother!
           
“IT’S RAINING”
“It’s raining cats and dogs.” (Someone please explain this one to me)
 
“It’s really coming down out there.”
 
“This weather is for the birds.” (Really? What bird sees thunder and lightning and a torrential downpour and says “Wow, this weather is for me!”)
 
“Boy, I got caught in a downpour.”
 
“It’s raining like the dickens out there!” (I have no idea what the “dickens” is)
 
DOWN THE SHORE
I consider myself one lucky dude that I actually own a house down the Shore. If I am on the beach and it starts to rain, I simply pack my stuff in my backpack, grab my beach chair and head home. While I would prefer it to never rain at all, I can handle it raining a day here, a day there, because I’m down the entire summer. I feel for the family that plans their annual weekly getaway and then it rains three days straight.
 
The only positive is somehow getting yourself to a bar. The maniacs who pack into the bar when it’s pouring are troopers and the longer you stay in that club (particularly if you get there in the late afternoon) the crazier it gets. I love it.
           
“PURPLE RAIN”
There are many great songs the word with “rain” in the title. The Beatles “Rain” and “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses come to mind. However, if you would have seen me walking down the Avenue before I wrote this article and shouted at me, “Big Daddy, give me the very first song that pops in your mind when I say the word “rain,” I would have said this one. I’m not claiming it’s the best, but it ain’t third or fourth either.
 
MOVIES
“What’s in the box?!” Se7en is already a dark, depressing, and disturbing movie to begin with. So, what does the director, the brilliant David Fincher, do? He sets it in a city (you never do find out what city) where it’s always raining, and I mean a steady downpour. 
 
Jon Cusack made a career out of standing in the rain displaying angst over one girl or another.  One of these days my wife and I are going to re-create the Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling kiss from The Notebook. How about the upside down, rainy kiss between Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man?
 
I truly scored points with my daughter Keely once when she sent me a text of my twin grandkids jumping up and down in these giant puddles. They were at the playground and I told my daughter that when she got home to show them that scene from Singing in the Rain where Gene Kelly is jumping up and down in his movie set puddles. She did and they loved it. Score!
 
WEST POINT PARK
My grade school was too cheap to send us to Willow Grove Park for its annual school picnic like most of the other parishes did. Willow Grove Park was the real deal. I’m not saying that it was Great Adventure, but it was pretty close.
 
West Point Park, when I went to it, was a rundown amusement park straight out of the film Adventureland. The rides you were looking forward to were either busted or three kids had died on the ride the day before. Still, I looked forward to it.  
 
I remember I was in the fourth grade and my mother woke me. I could tell from the look on her face that it was bad news. It was pouring cats and dogs when I went to bed and it was still coming down in buckets. The annual school picnic was canceled. Not postponed. Canceled.
 
I am man enough to write that I stood in front of those windows and cried like a baby the whole damn day.
 
To catch my new podcast, “From the Wheelchair with Big Daddy Graham,” or for further news and updates, visit BigDaddyGraham.com

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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 17, Issue 1 (April 2020).

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Author: Big Daddy Graham

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