I went out for a stroll the other day and got caught in the rain. Walking in the rain. What a marvelous thing it can be, assuming that it is not too cold. It had been ages since I walked in the rain on purpose, so instead of turning around and heading for the house, I just made an adventure of it and kept going.
Some people I know go crazy over a raindrop or two and won’t leave the house without an umbrella. Not me. I learned a long time ago that I won’t melt, and like I tell my buddy Clay all the time — every time I’ve ever gotten wet I got dry again. Case in point, I’m dry right now.
Now I told you all of that to tell you this. Have you ever been around people who, when the mood strikes them, just break out in song? Annoying, aren’t they? And even though I know how annoying those people can be, especially to the people born without the romance gene, I am still one of those people who do it.
As I was walking in the rain last week, in fact, I was so excited to be alive — a lot of folks aren’t, you know — that I broke out a little tune my daddy used to listen to on the hi-fi. (If you don’t know what a hi-fi is, ask an old person.) Who remembers this one. “Just a walkin’ in the rain, getting soaking wet. Torturing my heart, trying to forget.”
Actually I didn’t stay on that song long because my heart is not really being tortured, currently, and I don’t have to try and forget these days. Forgetting comes naturally. So I switched to, “I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again.”
I didn’t sing that song very long either because — well, because you just read all of the words that I know to that song. Besides, when I tried to swing on my neighbor George Moll’s mailbox — you know, like Gene Kelly swung on the lamppost — I learned that the laws of gravity may be defied by Hollywood movie-makers, but they are still in effect in Conyers, Ga.
I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that I have had better ideas.
But as I continued my walk I started thinking about all the songs about rain and realized that I must not be the only person who is moved by the experience of water falling from the sky. Just think about all the ones you know.
Elvis liked rain. “Seven lonely days, and a dozen towns ago — I reached one night and you were gone … Those three periods in a row mean, yada, yada, yada and hold the place ‘til I come to the good part. “Kentucky rain keeps falling down. And up ahead’s another town that I’ll be walking through … in the cold Kentucky rain.”
If my lovely wife, Lisa, ran away in the middle of the night I might or might not go looking for her — but only in a warm rain, not a cold one. I’m romantic, but I’m not a dang fool about romance.
“Rainy Night in Georgia” is another good rain song. I bet you associate that song with Ray Charles, don’t you? I do, too. But a guy named Tony Joe White wrote it, in 1962, and a cat named Brook Benton popularized it. So, yes — Ray Charles actually covered the song — which doesn’t keep me from listening to the Ray Charles version on just about every rainy evening we have. I have a Conway Twitty version, as well.
I didn’t sing that song during my walk, though, because it wasn’t nighttime.
I did, however, sing “Raindrops keep falling on my head … ”
Remember that one? B.J. Thomas. It was featured in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which may have the best script of any movie not called “Casablanca.”
I also hummed a few bars of “Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, telling me what fool I’ve been … ” which put me in mind of the Credence Clearwater Revival song, “I wanna know — have you ever seen the rain?” which put in mind of another CCR song, “Who’ll stop the rain?”
Wow! What band records not one but two classic songs about rain?
Apparently no one was going to stop the rain that particular afternoon, so I finally did go home, soggier than expected but happy, nonetheless.
I thought of one more rain song on the way home. Luke Bryan does it. “Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey. Whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky.”
Well, I’m not saying it does or it doesn’t, but I agree with old Luke. “Rain is a good thing.” Next time it comes up a cloud, go for a walk. You’ll get dry again. I promise.