There was a time, not so long ago, when a pre-dawn rain like Tuesday’s was cause to revel in the glories of nature, to savor asynchronous rhythms of spattering raindrops and clapping thunder, and relish the searing flash of lightning.
I was oblivious to all that yesterday, as eight months of reporting had finally taken its toll. One thought drowned out all the others.
Poor Randy Crawford.
The gentle pitter-patter of rain on the roof must sound like a firing squad to the beleaguered road and bridge superintendent. Splat, splat, splat, rat-a-tat-tat.
Does the loud crash of thunder abruptly shatter his sleep, causing him to bolt upright in bed, shuddering and shaking with a road superintendent’s version of inconsolable toddler night terrors? Or has he grown immune, resigned to nature’s relentless, mischievous setbacks?
Poor Randy. How does he get back to sleep? Counting culvert replacements instead of sheep? Someone should invent for him a white noise player set to mimic the sound of graders spreading white gravel; that should do the trick.
Poor me. All I could hear in the rain were echoes of the next county commission meeting.
The rhythmic gurgling of water from the downspout sounded out a Dallke-esque soliloquy, “Graders on the ground, rock on the roads,” alternating with a Lalouette lamentation, “Randy said, Randy needs, Randy wants, Randy could.”
Thunder conjured images of Lincolnville leviathan Mike Beneke lumbering up the courthouse steps yet again, a log from a jammed culvert under one arm and bills for 400 loads of gravel under the other. Each flash of lightning was the spark from another Holub-ism. The gentle, steady rain sounded all the world like “windrows, windrows, windrows.”
Poor Randy, if he shared even a smidgen of those.
As I watched puddles swell and overflow, I thought of all those overtime hours graders have logged, redistributing gravel like a cat spreading litter to cover its latest accomplishment. It looks better, to be sure, but we all know what lies beneath the surface.
And now, a gentle soaking rain, just the sort to make the gravel we like disappear and the boulders we don’t settle in a bit. The runoff will flow into ditches until plugs spill it onto the roads, undoubtedly exposing again the litter-filled gouges. Culverts will clog with field waste and branches. Can a new chorus of complaints be far behind?
Poor Randy. Will it ever end? Road problems are far easier to report than to fix, but they’re still a problem when they serve to rob me of the treasured solace I once found in a lovely summer rain.
No more. With reluctance and rue, I give in. Whatever others may call it, for me it has a new name: Randy rain.
Ye gads. Pass the gravel and fire up the graders.
— david colburn