‘I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 28, 2019

As I sit here basking in the sunshine, I start to think.

I miss the rain.


Just about everywhere you went for quite sometime now, you’ll hear something like “Is it wet enough for you?” They’ll follow that with something like, “I’ll bet we pay for that this summer.”

Yes, it’s plenty wet. Last fall, for the first time ever, I lost a turnip patch. It flooded … and flooded … and flooded. The seeds came up quickly, grew to an inch or two in height and then stopped; then the leaves turned yellow and the tiny turnips underneath turned to mush. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of rain to drown a turnip patch.

It wasn’t that long ago when the gardening experts were saying we should expect more drought. Make your landscape full of drought-tolerant plants, they said. We did, and they’re not happy. If only we had planted water lilies; I think they would do just fine in the front yard right now.

And while most of you may be enjoying your fourth or fifth day in a row without rain, I can’t help but think of how important it is. Not only is it necessary for life, it has given us some tremendous songs and lyrics, as well.

Following are some that come to mind; in no particular order of importance, just what is popping into my feeble brain, songs that made a wrinkle at some time or another. The lyrics may be off a bit, I’m going from memory. And I may tell how I remember the song, not necessarily by who wrote it.

“Rain clouds hanging down low and gray. God knows how I wish it wouldn’t rain today.” Todd Snider wrote that about growing up in Portland, Ore., home of the perpetual rain. But he moved out. Just sayin’.

“Rain just keeps on fallin’.” Mother’s Finest sang that one at an outdoor concert at Chowan College while I was there; and it started raining during the song. Yes, it was the 70s, but believe it or not, I still remember that moment.

“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” That’s a Willie Nelson song, possibly the best ever with the word rain.

“Many little raindrops are falling close to me. Makes the streams and rivers, just as muddy as can be. It’s raining, raining, raining here this morning. As the Mississippi flows into the sea.” The Hot Mud Family played that one at the Down Home in Johnson City, Tenn., circa 1979. I think it was an original by the Stanley Brothers, but the Hot Mud version plays in my brain many times a year during the rain.

“Purple rain, purple rain. Purple rain, purple rain. Purple rain, purple rain. I only wanted to see you. Bathing in the purple rain.” I’m not sure where Prince was going with that one, but it made a darn good song and the theme for a pretty good movie, as well. But what is purple rain? According to Prince himself: “When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple… purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain.” Pretty deep stuff. No wonder Stevie Nicks said it was too much for her.

“How high’s the water, mama? Five feet high and risin’. How high’s the water, papa? She said it’s five feet high and risin’. Well the rails are washed out north of town. We gotta head for higher ground. We can’t come back ‘till the water goes down. Five feet high and risin’. Well, it’s five feet high and risin’.” Thank you, Johnny Cash, for this and every other song you ever wrote or recorded.

“I want to know. Have you ever seen the rain? I want to know. Have you ever seen the rain? Comin’ down on a sunny day?” I sure miss John Fogerty and Credence Clearwater Revival. I admire him for standing up to the record executives, but wonder what if?

Let’s end this with the late Eddie Rabbit, who I think may have relished in our weather for the past few months.

“Well I love a rainy night; I love a rainy night. I love to hear the thunder; watch the lightning when I lights up the sky. You know it makes me feel good. Well, I love a rainy night; it’s such a beautiful sight. I love to feel the rain on my face; taste the rain on my lips, in the moonlight shadows.”

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record.