Neff Road


Rain. Wet drops that smell divine. The grounds eagerly laps it up wanting more of the delicious treat. This stuff called rain.

For five months we have been without measurable rainfall. The earth is cracked and lawns are brown. Birds have lost their song beaconing the coming rain. Lakes and rivers are extremely low, record setting low. We watch the earth suffer and stand helpless and hopeless. But not today. The skies opened and prayers were answered.

Growing up on Neff Road, we knew the value of rain. Our lives depended on it. Seems we either had too much or too little, but in the house back the lane, we knew that rain meant hope for an easier winter with the larder full. Rain watered the seeds that grew into food for us to sell, for our stock to eat and for mother to can.

Once in awhile the rain refused to stop. The front field flooded and the ditches ran full. I remember being at Hollie and Margaret’s paddling around in the ditch with Brenda. Our own little swimming pool on Neff Road. We splashed in puddles and danced in the rain.

Mom and Dad screened in the back porch. When rain came, we did not retreat into the house. No, the family sat on the porch as long as the rain did not come in on us. A gathering place where we watched storms pass over and our children do that same dance in the rain. A special time. A memorable time.

If it rained hard enough, Dad would drive us down the lane to the bus. If not, soggy kids piled onto bus #16. A bunch of wet kids probably not smelling all that great piled in like a can of tuna. God bless our bus driver Lewis. He certainly managed to smile through all the seasons, all the weather and all the soggy kids.

So what does this rain mean to us here in Oregon? Well, it does not look as if it will make it to the fire zone. The amount of wildlife and forest lost is heartbreaking. Homes are lost, lives are lost and there seems to be no relief. Storms on this side of the Cascades bring fear of wind and lightning strikes on the other side of the mountains. If Oregon gets downpours, there is a chance of mudslides with nothing to hold the earth. It seems a case of feast or famine. Yet the beauty of this place calls to all of us who live here, wanting to protect her in any way we can.

The extremes in the weather teach us that we are vulnerable to Mother Nature and constantly at her mercy. We learn that we cannot control everything despite the fact that we want to or need to. There is no doubt that we learn what is important and to appreciate what we have knowing that it can change in the blink of an eye.

The smell of the rain takes me back to Neff Road again. The rain beating down on the metal roof of the house playing a musical tattoo on my brain. Dad and I are looking for night crawlers in the mud. Brenda and I are playing in the rain. We sit on the porch in a sweet compatibility that has grown through the years. The corn is growing and the beans look good. Today we cherish this wet stuff and look forward to more. In fact, I just might dance in the rain.
Dance in the rain

By Pamela Loxley Drake

Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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