The rain comes falling from the sky,
To fill the stream that fills the sea,
And that’s where life began for you and me,
So the next time you see rain it ain’t bad,
Don’t complain it rains for you and me . . .
~ Mamunia, by Paul McCartney
So I’m getting the vibe that a lot of people haven’t really appreciated the summer we’ve had this year. Going on Facebook these days has never been so bitchy, with everyone, at some point or another, moaning about the weather on their statuses.
Coming from people who spent most of their lives elsewhere, this reaction doesn’t surprise me, but even long-time Rupertites have been grousing excessively. The low-light of this summer gloom was when the Snowbirds show had to be cancelled, leaving vendors, musicians, volunteers, and families sad-faced and in the lurch on the waterfront.
Certainly, losing the Snowbirds show was a downer but, realistically, that gig is always going to be a risk in a place where rain is the norm rather than the exception. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying though, right?
There were some that said no, that said it was stupid to put so much effort into something that required clear skies, but the organizing committee (myself among them) is already committed to doing it again. Why? Because we’re an optimistic lot. Because we have hope.
Indeed, Rupert has rarely let the constant threat of rain get in the way of a good thing.
Our annual celebration, SeaFest, has often been hit by rain but I can’t recall any time that I, and thousands of others, didn’t spend the weekend roaming Third Avenue and the waterfront. The annual carnival, of course, seems to always be held in inclement weather, yet I’m sure they make a good buck every year as we just wipe off the seats on the rides and scream away.
One of my favorite examples of our damn-the-rain ways is also a personal one: the mounting of a full-length play for two weeks in the Sunken Gardens! Some of you may not have been here when we did it; others were here but only remember it vaguely, like a phantom occurrence, probably because it was so audacious that you think: really? They did that??
The play itself was bold: an epic satire by Bertold Brecht on the rise of Hitler, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Since it was meant to attract tourists, some club members were worried that the play would offend German visitors (it had been very controversial in Brecht’s home Germany).
The six shows ran over two weekends in the summer. An outdoor play with nearly 20 cast members, it utilized every inch of the Gardens; the grass base area, the tunnels, the walking path above and the rock wall in between. It was Harbour Theatre’s most ambitious project ever.
Did it rain? Yes, on a couple of nights but we played through and overcame that and other issues that outdoor theatre in Rupert presents (I recall needing to pause and hold my next line for a considerable time as a seaplane flew past).
No matter the weather; it was a hit as we got sell-out or near sell-out crowds every night. It was a difficult and challenging project (director Laura Chapin lost 10 lbs. due to stress) but we did it because that’s who we are.
It seems every year during slo-pitch season I’ll get a call from a new player and new resident of the town, asking “Do you guys still play in this??” And I’ll laugh. “Dude. This drizzle? Yeah. We play in much worse.”
We play football in it. We play soccer in it. We go for walks in it – “is that kid just wearing a t-shirt?” stunned visitors will ask.
I took the dog for a walk down to the waterfront recently. It was raining and blowing but it didn’t bother me. I actually get a kind of primal rush being down there, watching the trees bend, the big waves, and the gulls still managing to sit calmly on the water.
There were many others doing the same, all bundled up. They just smiled and shrugged as they walked past. What are you going to do?
I guess you could moan about it. Or you can simply, to quote one of the wisest sayings ever, accept the things you can’t change. Accept it and adapt.
Catch up on that reading. That writing. Play board games with the family or build Legos with your kids. Watch movies. Go to the gym. Join a club. Or just get out there because it isn’t going away – for long, anyways.
And when the rain does go away and the sun shines brightly, don’t we always appreciate it that much more, uttering those famous Rupertite words: “This is why I stay here; because on a sunny day, there is no other place like Rupert.”
~Written by Rudy Kelly