Times change between rains

By David Stevens

Gary Johnson was New Mexico’s governor back then.
Saddam Hussein was still running Iraq.
Area cotton gins were getting ready for a record-setting season.
It’s been a long time since it’s been this wet in eastern New Mexico.
The Clovis area has received nearly 1 1/2 inches of moisture in the past two weeks.
The last time that happened was the week of Halloween.
Scary, huh?
The world was a lot different in those days.
The Washington D.C. area was still reeling from a series of sniper attacks.
We were still looking for Osama bin Laden.
Republicans were still trying to define “regime change” in debating whether to remove Hussein from power.
Twenty-seven year veteran Capt. Garrett Mitchell had not yet retired from Clovis Police Department.
Clovis didn’t have a Rib Crib restaurant.
Emmitt Smith was still a Dallas Cowboy.
And nobody had ever heard of Funny Cide.
The Bachelor had not yet made his decision.
“Sweet Home Alabama” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” were the hottest movie tickets around.
The Dixie Chicks were popular.
And Bob Hope was only 99.
The National Weather Service reports we’ve received 1.4 inches of moisture since May 25. That’s more than we had in January, February, March and April … combined.
We had 1.6 inches from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1.
Not much in between.
Portales’ annual Peanut Valley Festival was the only local celebration dampened by rain for seven months.
Seven months.
We won a war in less time than it took to get significant rainfall.
Forecasters say we have a chance at moisture each of the next few days, but we know from experience not to get our hopes up.
Our region averages less than 18 inches of rainfall per year. So it’s big news when we receive nearly 10 percent of that total in two weeks.
But sometimes we receive more than that in less time.
A newspaper reporter once told me this story, so I know it’s true:
A city slicker walked into an area Dairy Queen, found the farmers drinking coffee in the back booth, and announced he was considering a move to the region. He said he had only one concern.
“I’ve heard you folks have a lot of bad weather here,” he said.
“Nah,” one farmer told him. “The weather is great 355 days a year. We’ll have a tornado or two and a few bad snow days every couple of winters, but mostly the weather is pretty mild.”
“How much rain do you get?” the city slicker asked.
“Not much,” the farmer told him. “We had 18 inches last year.”
The city slicker smiled and hurried off to share the good news with his family.
The farmers returned to nursing their coffee, quietly wondering how long the newcomers might last in the community.
“You reckon that feller’s gonna be mad at us when he finds out this ain’t no Garden of Eden?” one farmer asked.
“Can’t help it if he is,” another replied. “We were honest with him. We told him we get about 18 inches of rain each year. He didn’t ask us about the day we get it.”

David Stevens is editor for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be contacted at 1-800-819-9925. His e-mail address is: david_stevens@link.freedom.com