Columns » Bob Lancaster

Send rain

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The Bro.-Gov. has decreed that Arkies who believe in that sort of thing should pray for rain, and I thought I’d use the column today to do my part.

Lord, send us some more rain.

Appreciate the few showers of late, but they’re just a drop in the bucket, so to speak. We need some of them toad-stranglers of yesteryear. We need something on the order of what got Noah thinking ark.

Perryville and some of these other towns are threatening to just dry up and blow away, and half our farmers are might near ready to sign on as debeakers down at the chicken plant, and these neighbors of mine just laugh at the burn ban, their leaf fires sending big old flaming cinders right into our hayloft and onto our dry old roof, just scaring the daylights out of Momma and the young’uns and all of our livestock except the pigs. You just can’t scare a pig, Lord — a fact I guess you already knew.

So send us some more rain. If it’s not asking too much.

Also, it wouldn’t hurt our feelings any if you’d leave the hail out of the next batch. That little passel of showers that passed through last week was about 50 per cent hail, and hail is just no good for nothing, Lord, as far as I can see. It shreds vegetation and wildlife, and Grandma always gets hysterical when it goes to whanging the trailer, and it knocks these dents in your car and burrs in your windshield and the insurance adjuster always finds some reason that your policy doesn’t cover it.

You’ll just have to pardon me for not understanding the hail. I could understand it if it was just some evolutionary relic, like appendicitis, but I wouldn’t want to make you mad by suggesting some anti-Intelligent Design something like that. One time you turned the hail into a hail of bullfrogs, and I admired that — but hail as ice is just malicious mischief to my thinking and the moisture in it is not enough to do anybody or anything any good.

At least with bullfrogs you can plow them into the soil for fertilize.

So send us some more rain, if that’s not asking too much, and ixnay on the ailhay.

And while you’re taking out the hail, nobody around here would mind if you’d mix in something that would eliminate some of these fire ants. Little bastards have just about taken over in this part of the country, Lord. It used to be called Your Country but now it’s Ant Country. My driveway out here last summer they set up an Interstate Antway, with cloverleafs and microscopic Stuckey’s and little flag-ants tying up traffic unnecessarily in the construction zones.

Since all of our rain nowadays is acid rain anyway, what would it hurt to throw in a little antkiller, something mirexy maybe but odorless and with a super-effective killing ingredient or power known only to you and not available in stores? Oh, and completely harmless to humans and pets.

You probably know of a secret rain-soluble ingredient that would get rid of these pine beetles at the same time. They’re finishing off one of my big front-yard shade pines even as we speak, and you can take a magnifying glass out there and see them already licking their chops over the bigger tree nearby. Yes, pine beetles do have chops, as you well know, and no, I reckon you wouldn’t need the magnifying glass.

And moles. It would really be great if your mystery ingredient that wipes out the fire ants and pine beetles would put the quietus on all these moles that are just making a joke out of all my earnest efforts over the last few years at making the lawn presentable. I don’t mean killing them necessarily. Maybe just singe them enough to give them to know that they’re unwelcome, so that they’ll migrate on over to Deerwood or to the giant yellow residential pizza manse.

If all of that is not asking too much.

The daily paper here prays semi-regularly for a good smiting of our enemies overseas, and the president prays for a smiting of traitors here at home who don’t appreciate his policies, so I don’t see how smiting some no-good insects and pestiferous moles would be an immodest request.

If it is, though, I beg pardon for it.

And for any thing else presumptuous or inappropriate here on the prayer rug. It’s not a precinct I spend a lot of time in, as it seems to me impious to be forever pestering God Almighty for small favors. And small favors — in the context, infinitesimal — are the only kind we know anything about.

Praying scared the daylights out of the ancients, rightly so, fear and reverence being different sides of the same coin. But we’ve got all buddy-buddy since Dorothy and them pulled back the curtain on the wiz — best pals now with Your Old Formerly Majestic and Unapproachable Triplicate Self, in a constant cozy confab with you and playing like it’s you that wants it so.




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