The lights flickered, and suddenly a low rumble echoed into the night. A raindrop made a plink on the air conditioner outside, followed by another, then another.
It had been so long since I'd heard the rumble of thunder and the tinkle of raindrops striking the roof, I was a bit startled by the sounds. But yes, thank God, Saturday night we got a little rain.
We were blessed with a brief shower Friday evening as well. I was soaked as I loaded horses into a trailer, and we actually used the windshield wipers for a while as we headed for Hazlehurst. Maybe the rainfall Friday was only enough to settle the dust, but I am thankful for every drop God sends.
Saturday night's rain was also brief, but there were still puddles on the ground Sunday morning and a mist of rain in the air. I won't be greedy; yes, we need much more, but I am thankful for the precipitation we did receive.
We were watching TV when the lights flickered around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. I asked Stan what it could be, and he mumbled something about a power surge.
It flickered again, and I wondered out loud whether it could be bad weather, recalling the brief but intense shower the night before.
Stan had no sooner responded with a man-like "could be" as his attention remained immersed in the movie, when the thunder rolled across the sky like a herd of buffalo.
A brief flash of lightning and I had my answer. A few seconds later, the plinking of big, fat raindrops on the air conditioner and roof were welcome sounds.
I rarely make New Year's resolutions, but last New Year's Day I resolved that I would not complain at all about rainfall this year.
Saturday we plan a trail ride for St. Jude Children's Hospital. As much as I hope to have a big crowd and raise plenty of money for the cause, I won't say a word if the sky opens up and we are deluged with rain. I want to raise a lot of money, but there is an even bigger picture out there - there are people whose livelihoods depend upon rainfall.
Farmers are having to sell cattle, and having to cut their oat crop to use as hay for hungry cattle instead of harvesting it for the grain.
The horse market has bottomed out due to the combination of slaughter houses being closed in the United States, and the severe hay shortage.
Corn crops that weren't killed in the unusual spring freeze are starting to wither and twist. Farmers hoping to have a good year due to the increased demand for corn for ethanol have had those hopes crushed by the drought. Those hopes may be resurrected with the appearance of rainfall such as we experienced Friday and Saturday.
Some of us didn't get a drop. Others received just enough sprinkles to settle the dust. Others had puddles Sunday morning.
Still, we need much more. Pastures and row crops are far behind where they should be at this point and some crops haven't even been planted. We recently drove past a field that has pastured cattle over the winter to find it had been tilled into deep valleys and pointed ridges. Stan thought it had been planted, but this farmer's daughter knew better. The fields had been prepared for planting, but apparently the farmer was waiting for moisture before planting the cotton or soybeans.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the tractors in the field this week, taking advantage of the welcome rainfall. They will likely plant those seeds, then continue the litany of prayer that the rains will keep coming and the crops will flourish.
I wrote an article Friday afternoon about the drought and its affect on crops. After Friday evening's brief showers, editor Jim Healy had to make a minor change in the story. We talked about it Saturday and our business editor Jan Moore mentioned that the weather map showed the Bulloch County area was the only place in the area that received any rain that night.
"It's because we prayed," I told her. She laughed and said she was sure people in other areas have been praying as well.
She's right, and God is the only One who knows why we received that blessing Friday, and the blessing of even more rain Saturday. Maybe He felt some farmer in the area deserved or needed it more, or maybe it was just our turn.
Regardless, I know in my heart that the weekend rainfall we have received is definitely a blessing, and without a doubt was an answer to the countless prayers that Bulloch County has sent up to the Heavens.
We need more rain, so please, nobody stop praying! And those of you who haven't prayed - join us. It works. He listens.