John W. Pinkerton

There are two types of people: those who are weather people and people, like myself, who are not.  Those who are seem to constantly be interested in what the weather is or will be or was.

Personally, I’ve never been much interested in the weather.  I’ve always figured that if I want to know what the weather is doing, I’ll look out the window to see if it’s raining or crack a door to check the temperature outside.  There’s certainly nothing that my interest in the weather can do to change it.  If it rains, it rains.  If it snows, well, you’re in a different part of the world.

I live in a part of the country that the temperature is either warm, hot, really hot, or January.  On the other hand, my part of the world doesn’t seem to be subject to hurricane damage, earthquakes, or even tornadoes.  As for rain, it’s not tropical, but, as a general rule, it does rain enough to keep most plants and animals alive: in other words, I guess it’s apparent I don’t live in West Texas.

I was reared in Louisiana where it rains a lot, is subject to hurricanes, and where the trees grow tall.  That’s the one thing I really miss about Louisiana, the trees.  I do have a fairly large oak in my front yard, but it would be a little fellow in Louisiana.  Here it’s a big boy.

In Somerville, the warmest months are July and August.  The highest recorded temperature ever was 113 degrees in September of 2000.  The annual average temperature is a little over 80 degrees.  The coolest month is January which averages 62 degrees.  The average low temperature for each day of the year is a little over 57 degrees.      The lowest recorded temperature  was -2 degrees in January of 1930, long before I was born.  The average rainfall for each month is 3.68 inches.

In all of these stats, the only one worth paying attention to is the highs for July and August, stroke weather.  Unfortunately these are the months most of my friends, many of whom work in public education, want to play golf.  I’m retired, Guys; I can play in January, nice weather for an old guy.

Enough about the guy who could care less about the weather: what about those who care more?  Well, Linda, my wife, is a real weather person.  One thing nice about weather people is that they are easy to buy gifts for.  Those wireless indoor-outdoor thermometers are a wonder which any weather person will enjoy.  For the more sophisticated weather folks, a barometer is an ideal gift.  What about a nice rain gauge?

Linda knows I’m not a weather guy, yet, either out of kindness or compulsion, she keeps me informed.  She’s quick to give me morning and evening temperature updates.  She often asks me to switch the TV to the local channel, so she can get the latest weather report.  She was very impressed when I pointed out that there is a channel available which is called The Weather Channel.  Now she’s certainly not the only person who seems to have an uncontrolled interest in the weather.  Linda’s father was a weather guy.  Hmmm, perhaps it’s hereditary.

Let’s take a moment to praise the weather men and women.  They have jobs which require minimal skills, pay well, and make them look like great guys.  The only ones who really offend me are the guys who are truly into their trade.  You know the guys.  They’re the ones who enthusiastically interrupt your favorite shows to tell you of a “storm” system which is sweeping across counties which are so far away they might as well be in a different state.  They drone on and on repeating the same information in seventeen different ways.  Damn it, get me back to my program.  A little scroll across the bottom of the screen should do the trick.  I really doubt that very few blind people spend a lot of time watching television.

Farmers and construction folks have good reasons to be weather guys.  Profit is the motive in each case.  Those cows can eat free grass just as well as bought hay.  Mud on a construction site is not a profit maker.  My dad was in the construction business and was often seen examining the skies for potential threats.

I got the reputation of being a guy who could predict whether it will rain or not when I was playing golf on a regular basis with a group of guys who seemed not to suspect that I was lying when asked if I thought it was going to rain on the days we planned a golf outing.  My answer was always the same: no.  I wanted to play and didn’t want a potential drop of rain to interfere with our plans.  Inevitably, I was right.  Think about it.  How often does it actually rain when the weather man says there is a good chance for rain.  Not often.  I think weather forecasters allow their enthusiasm for changes in the weather to color their forecasts with their desires.  Have you ever noticed how revved up weather people become when hurricane season approaches?

In my part of the world, weather and climate are almost synonymous: not much changes here.  Certainly not in an unpredictable way.  Remember, warm, hot, hotter, and January.


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