Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

And Then The Rains Came
by James Glaser
August 29, 2008

Tropical storm Fay, which hit Tallahassee last weekend, is the closest I have ever been to a hurricane, and as close as I ever want to be. I have been in hard rains, but this rain went on and on for hours, and when the storm finally left Sunday afternoon, Tallahassee had a new rainfall record. It depends who you believe, but everyone agrees that we had somewhere between 20 and 25 inches of rain.

Even after the sun came out, every few hours a trailing dark cloud would put us in its shadow, and it would pour for twenty minutes. Then the sun would reappear and start drying things again.

Wanda called storms like Fay, God's way of pruning everything. There were branches and leaf clusters covering the ground and the police asked people not to drive until city crews could clear away the hundreds of trees that had toppled across streets.

There was flooding, but we live at the top of the hill, so we were fine. I worried about my gallery and studio and was happy to see no leaks. Water did seep under the wall of the studio and I ended having to cut an inch off of several sheets of plywood. We were blessed. One whole subdivision with 240 homes was flooded out. Some streets were and are still closed, because storm sewers gave way and the road surface disappeared into a hole.

Other than the increase in traffic because of closed roads, and the high humidity from drying out the town, things are back to normal for me. Wanda was up in Birmingham, Alabama giving a talk to a community group for her company, and so I had a couple of really productive days. I get more work done when she is gone, but life is not the joy it is with her around.

Every shop owner tells me that now is the time that things start picking up with sales because the students are back. With Florida A&M, Florida State, Tallahassee Community College, and all the public schools back at it, Tallahassee's population swells by over 50,000. On top of that there are thousands out of town parents visiting their children, so almost every business sees a real shot in the arm in their sales numbers. Although, storm weekends don't help, nor do long weekends like Labor Day, when there is enough time to travel to the beach or north to someplace cooler.

It is still in the 90's every day, and with the humidity it feels like it is over 100. Even if you have your heart set on a day of shopping, by the time you get in the car, and the AC starts to cool it down, you are already wondering why you didn't grab a cold bottle of water on your way out the door. After one or two stops, you are ready to head home. Any car in any parking lot down here heats up under the sun in minutes.

However, September is coming, and that means cooler mornings and cooler nights. Soon, Tallahassee will be the envy of any Northerner looking at how much firewood they are going to need to make it through the winter. Between September 1st and May 30th there are at least eight great months of nice weather. That's hard to beat no matter where you live.

Post Script:

On other Friday columns I have written about my neighbor in Railroad Square, and how he is a dyed-in-the-wool Barack Obama supporter. Well, yesterday morning he was all thrilled about Obama's speech from the night before. After he was done telling me about it, I got him talking about McCain's choice for VP, and we were both making guesses of who it would be. I said the best move McCain could make would be to pick a woman.

After lunch as I drove up to the studio knowing McCain did in fact pick a woman, I spotted him and had to give him the news. The guy was in shock. He just knew McCain would be picking some "good old boy" from Washington.

This guy is from Minnesota too, and when I said, "she is a hockey mom," it pained him. Then I told him the woman has a husband in the United Steel Workers of America, and she was a life-long member of the NRA. I said I would put some money on McCain winning now, and you know what, he wouldn't take that bet.

At noon while having lunch with Wanda at home, we watched as McCain introduced his VP candidate, and as I watched I could just imagine how John McCain was chuckling inside thinking, "Top that Obama."

I don't have a horse in this race, but I must say John McCain is making it interesting to watch.

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