Darrell Huckaby - 09/23/09

About 22 months ago Georgia's governor, Sonny Perdue, held a prayer meeting at the State Capitol in Atlanta to ask for rain. The great Methodist minister, Gil Watson, was the only person in the crowd who brought an umbrella. Oh ye of little faith!

Well, I am sure we all appreciate the rain, but maybe Gov. Perdue should have a similar gathering to let the Lord know that we've had enough rain to last us for a while.

When I was growing up I used to love to hear my daddy and his friends talk about the weather. None of them ever did anything about it, but I loved hearing them talk about it. When the skies would open and a downpour would occur, the standard question of the day was, "Think it will rain?"

There were lots of appropriate answers.

"If it don't it will have missed a good chance," was one of my favorites. "It might come up a dry drizzle terrectly," was another.

And I am here to tell you, it has forevermore rained in the North Georgia Piedmont this week. Have you ever seen such?

I suppose I have, but not often.

When it first started raining, about a week ago, I was glad to see it. We had those two years of drought, as you well know, and some of the lakes still haven't gotten back up to full pool. Besides, we need one more good cutting of hay and if it had not rained all weekend I would have got stuck doing all sorts of yard work and I wanted to stay inside and watch football.

So I was glad to see the rain - for a while. But then things kind of got out of hand.

I began watching the news Sunday evening and couldn't believe that so much water was falling from the sky. I emptied our Snapping Shoals rain gauge twice and there were areas of the metro region that got a lot more rain than we did, according to the reports I was seeing on the television news. Pretty soon the rain stopped being a subject of conversation and became a full blown news event - like a winter snowstorm, only warmer.

When I got home from school Monday afternoon there were reports of massive flooding and bridges being closed and cars being swept away. There was a picture of a school bus in one county that had been turned over by a torrent of water that swept through a parking lot. Luckily no one was on the bus. Others weren't so lucky, and people got stranded at work and in their homes and out on the highways and several people even lost their lives.

This was serious business in other words.

I watched the breaking news on television for a while and kept checking the weather forecast on the Internet. When I saw a U.S. Weather Service bulletin warning that the Yellow River was expected to overflow its banks I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to go to Porterdale and take a look for myself.

Sure enough, the river had left its banks and was creeping up toward what used to be Police Chief Ray Potts's back yard. And the water was rushing over the dam by the Porterdale Mill loft apartments, turning the normally dry area into what looked like Class 5 rapids. I might have seen the water higher once or twice in my life, but not often. And the weather folks kept saying the worst was yet to come.

As the rain continued to fall, the speculation began about whether we would or would not have school on Tuesday. Several systems had already canceled classes, but they were to the north and west of us, where more rain had fallen and many roads were closed.

We watched the news intently, trying to figure out where Rockdale County came in on the misery index. We saw entire Cobb County neighborhoods under water and cars that had been swept away - and at Westminster Academy the football field was entirely under water - and we are talking up to the crossbar of the goalposts.

Kids began to gather at my house Monday night, as kids seem to do when a weather event is imminent, and we finally got the call that we were having an unscheduled day off. Folks in north Rockdale were having a rough time of it and with the uncertainty of the road conditions in the early morning hours it is always better to be safe than sorry.

So here we are, still trying to dry out and recover from the great deluge of 2009.

And quite frankly, I don't know if we'll get any more rain or not this week, but if we don't, well, we will have missed a good chance. And I know something else - the next time I need some praying done, I'm calling Gil Watson. That skeester is obviously in good with the man upstairs, and I want Gil on my side.

Darrell Huckaby