Sunday, May 16, 2010
Weather Radio ...
Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt used to tell a story about how folks got their weather reports back when he was just a boy, so you know techniques for acquiring accurate weather information wasn't all that sophisticated or advanced--not unlike modern-day reporting I reckon ... back then many weather forecasters often relied upon weather watchers, or weather observers to formulate general weather predictions ... such as Grandpa Beauford Delaney and his rheumatoid rain knee, which would start aching two days prior to a good soaking rain ... or Aunt Tiny Flounder's bursitic elbow, which cracked, creaked and snapped when she moved it any time the temperature dipped below thirty-two degress Fahrenheit ... and last but not least was Grandma Hunnicutt's barometric stutter, that's right, when the barometric pressure dropped below a certain level Grandma would stutter like an old Tin Lizzie ... weather prognosticators also based their forecasts on observations of the sky, animals and nature ... such as "rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning" ... "the higher the clouds, the finer the weather" ... "clear moon, frost soon" ... "when clouds appear like towers, the earth is refreshed by showers" ... "ring around the moon, rain real soon" ... "rain foretold, long last, short notice, soon will pass" ... "red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in morning, sailors take warning" ... and then there was the Indians down on the reservation.
Uncle Virgil often told about how folks in his neck of the woods would gather around the radio at night and listen to old radio shows such as Amos & Andy, Avenger, Charlie Chan, Hopalong Cassidy, Buck Rogers, Death Valley Days, Gene Autry or Benny Goodman--it was the highlight of the day ... right before the radio station signed-off for the night ... radio stations did that back then ... the radio feller would give the local weather forecast as best he knew it ... folks back then took heed to those weather reports too, because it must be true if it came from the radio, right? ... what folks didn't know is that the feller giving the weather forecast each night on the radio was getting his information from observing the indians on a reservation he drove past each morning on his way to the radio station ... but he didn't want his listeners to know that ... he wanted them to think he was gleaning his info from highly scientific and technical methods ... now those indians had been gathering firewood like there was no tomorrow, they had firewood stacked anyplace they had room to stack it and were as busy as bees trying to find even more firewood ... so that radio feller figured those indians must somehow know that the area was in for an extremely severe winter--considering that huge amount of firewood they had amassed ... so that radio feller had been telling his listeners that a bad winter was most assuredly on the way--be sure to gather plenty of firewood.
Virgil Hunnicutt's daddy had been listening intently to that radio feller's weather forecast each night ... subsequent to that weather forecast he had Virgil working from daylight to dusk each day gathering firewood ... they too had firewood stacked wherever they could find space to stack firewood ... just to be sure, Virgil's daddy would call that radio feller on the telephone each morning and ask that radio feller if he was absolutely certain about his weather predictions, to which that radio feller would assure Virgil's daddy that his forecast was precise, accurate and dependable having been obtained by extremely scientific and technical methods ... so the Hunnicutts continued to gather firewood at a frenzied pace, and so did those indians ... and that radio feller kept on observing those indians gathering firewood, so he kept on telling his listeners that a bad winter was coming--be sure to gather plenty of firewood ... one day right after hanging up from his daily telephone conversation with Virgil's daddy, that radio feller got to thinking and feeling a bit guilty, folks had been gathering an awful lot of firewood ... was that much firewood really needed? ... do those indians really know what they're doing? ... he began to wonder just what methods those indians used to obtain their weather information ... so he got in his car and drove over to the reservation, and without introducing himself politely asked the Chief why they had been gathering so much firewood ... the Chief replied without hesitation "well sir, we've been listening to that radio feller's weather forecasts each night on the radio ... he's been predicting an extremely severe winter for quite some time now ... and that folks should gather plenty of firewood!!"