Grandpa Discusses the Weather

Neil sighed as he looked out the window. “It’s still raining.”

Lynn shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. Even if it stopped now, we still won’t go to the pumpkin patch. It’ll be all muddy.”

Jim joined them on the couch. “We could wear our boots. I think we could talk mom into it. Carrie would be upset if we don’t go at all.” They all shivered. Their baby sister was scary when angry.

Neil sat up. “We could sing the ‘rain, rain go away’ song.”

Lynn snorted. “That won’t work. There’s no way a song would have any influence on the weather.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” Grandpa said. The children jumped.

“Where did you come from?” Jim asked. “You weren’t here a minute ago.”

“Or even a second ago,” Neil added.

“Technically, it’s been several seconds at this point,” Lynn said.

Grandpa smiled. “Your mom invited me to come to the pumpkin patch. I think we’ll go after Carrie wakes up.”

“But it’s raining.” Jim pulled at a thread sticking out from a small hole in the knee of his jeans. “Mom won’t let us go if it’s muddy.”

Neil leaned forward. “Do you think it would work if we sang the song?”

“It might even work too well. At least it did once when I was younger, a long time ago. A long, long time ago.” Grandpa sat in the arm chair.

“Yay! A grandpa story!” Neil clapped his hands. Jim sat back with a smile.

Lynn folded her arms with a huff. “There is no way a song had any effect on the weather. It makes no sense.”

“Just listen to the story,” Jim said. Neil nodded.

“Fine.” Lynn leaned back, her arms still folded.

“Now, where was I? Ah yes. It was raining, and all the children wanted to go outside. They’d just invented ice, you know, and we all wanted to see how long it would take for it to melt in the sun. I thought it would just get really warm all at once and explode, but it later turned out I was wrong. It’s too bad. That would have been exciting.”

“Not so great for drinking lemonade outside on a hot day,” Jim pointed out.

“Well, maybe if the explosions were just little explosions,” Neil said.

Lynn waved her arms around, looking exasperated. “No one invented ice. It’s a chemical property of water. If there was water, there was ice. If there wasn’t water, there wouldn’t have been any people.”

“Maybe they’d just invented ice cube trays?” Jim said. “Anyways, Grandpa was telling a story, and it’s rude to interrupt.”

“But you interrupted first,” Lynn said.

“Shhhhhhhhhh.” Neil looked annoyed.

Grandpa smiled. “Hmmmmm. Let’s see. Ice. That’s right. We wanted to go outside, but it was raining, and our experiment wouldn’t work in the rain. So we all sang the ‘rain, rain go away’ song together, and the combined might of our powerful singing ended the rain. Which was wonderful at first, even though, as I said, the ice didn’t actually explode.” Grandpa sighed.

“But then what happened?” Neil asked.

“Nothing. And that was the problem. The rain didn’t come back. Not for weeks and weeks and months and months. The grass died. The farmers complained. They started rationing water. There was no more ice for experiments, and I wasn’t able to check to see if ice would explode under the full moon. It doesn’t, by the way.”

“Of course it doesn’t,” Lynn said. “An explosion is really just a rapid expansion. Moonlight wouldn’t cause that. Not by itself, anyway.”

Neil and Jim looked at Lynn. She frowned and folded her arms. They all looked at Grandpa.

“Yes, well, eventually we had to admit that we’d sung the rhyme. It was immediately banned and poets and musicians worked together to write a new rhyme that would bring back the rain. We all chanted and sang the rhymes and songs until finally, one of them worked. The rain came back.”

Lynn rolled her eyes. “It would have come back without the song. Songs don’t affect the weather. Really, they don’t.”

“And yet, it worked,”Grandpa said. “The rain lasted for a week. Things were flooding. They un-banned the ‘rain, rain go away’ song, but told us never to sing it all together again.”

“So, only one of us should sing the song?” Neil asked.

“I think we could all sing it together,” Grandpa said. “It has a different tune than it used to have, so that makes it a lot less powerful.”

Jim and Neil jumped up. They looked at Lynn until she reluctantly got up. They all sang the song. Once, twice, a third time. The rain stopped.

The children looked at each other. “I still say a song has no real affect on the weather,” Lynn said slowly.

Neil turned to Grandpa. “But what did the tune used to sound like?”

“So, now that it’s not raining, I should check on your mother and see if Carrie’s awake yet.” Grandpa hurried out of the room.