News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Garbage can lid good predictor of rain

“It’s not going to rain today,” I said to Regina, after looking into a cloudy sky early Wednesday.

“Is that what the Weather Channel said?” she asked.

“Nope, that’s according to the man operating the sanitation truck,” I replied, while watching his robotic arm dump the garbage and lower the container to the driveway.

She said that made no sense.

“The lid closed when he set the can down. That means no rain. Something about rising barometric pressure affects how the lid operates. It works on the same principle as that weather house you have outside,” I said.

We had a weather house that hung in the kitchen of the farmhouse in Blount County. It was my reward for selling all chances on a punchboard that offered a bigger prize to the winner with the lucky number.

Hansel and Gretel came out when we were in for good weather, but the witch came out if it was about to rain.

Because insulation in the old house wasn’t much, the inside conditions were little different from those outside, thus having no effect on the expansion and contraction that made Hansel and Gretel or the witch pop out.

Regina, too, had one when she was young, so I surprised her a few years ago at Christmas with a Bavarian weather house from a mail-order sales catalog.

That was a mistake.

It was about a third the size of the one I remembered. She said it was nothing like the one she had, also.

Because our house is considerably better insulated than the farmhouse, we put the Christmas gift on the front porch.

But this one isn’t clear about its duties. It confirms rather than predicts weather. It waits about a day into a rain before the man figure comes out. Conversely, the woman on the other side usually shows up the day after the skies clear. Occasionally, the weather house gets it right.

But it’s not as accurate as the sanitation man because I pour water out of the garbage container a lot. In a contest between the two, my bet is on the garbage container lid to be more accurate about the weather. It did not rain Wednesday.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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