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What's this weather going to do?
My paternal grandfather was a colorful character, and he frequently uttered phrases that matched his character.
I don’t recall ever hearing him curse, but he had a “hrumph” that spoke volumes.
Among his favorite exclamations were “The Dickens!” and “What in the Sam Hill … .” The latter was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for my brother and me, because he only called upon Mr. Hill when he was really peeved, and we were no doubt in big trouble. But we couldn’t help but titter a bit that grandpa almost said that H-E-double-toothpicks word.
(As an aside, I feel I’ve let the Hartsock men down a bit. My father has carried on the tradition admirably. I could drive before I heard him use a real curse word, but he was quick to drop “Dadgummit” or “Dirty Rottonmafotch!” with reckless abandon. Both just sound filthy. I, on the other hand, am not quite so inventive with my invective).
Anyway, Kansas springs always make me think about my grandfather and another one of his favorite sayings: “What’s this weather going to do?”
At face value, it’s a simple enough question.
“Should we go frolic in the great outdoors?”
“I dunno … what’s this weather going to do?”
Wielded by my grandfather, however, “What’s this weather going to do?” really meant, “There might not be a cloud in the sky, the winds calm, the forecast clear for days … but I don’t really feel like plowing the South 40 today, so I’m going to make it seem I know something nobody else does about an impending deluge. You, however, should feel free to plow away.”
Don’t get the wrong idea.
My grandfather performed more backbreaking manual labor in a week than I have in my life — and he did so into his 70s. He was one tough hombre. Look up tough hombre in the dictionary, and you’ll see a tough hombre, all right — bruised and battered because my grandfather gave him a whuppin’ just because he had the nerve to pose for a picture in the dictionary, of all places.
But as he grew older, I think he thought he deserved to take it easy every now and then, but he wouldn’t dare say he was tired. No, he’d take a look at the (cloudless) sky and wonder aloud, “What’s this weather going to do?” And any plans that involved the great outdoors invariably were scuttled.
So it is with a nod to that proud heritage, then, that I frequently find myself pondering the same, great unknown as I mull whether the weather will allow me to ride my bike to work.
After dinner, if the weather’s iffy, my wife will ask if I’m riding back to work or driving, and I’ll look to the ceiling, wonder, “What’s this weather going to do?” and laugh out loud. Then I’ll hop on weather.com and find out what in the Sam Hill it really is going to do.