by Lori Dann
Promising, almost teasing, gray clouds hang low over the Davis Supply Company on Central Street, but so far only a few drops of rain have dotted the hoods of the half dozen pickup trucks parked in front.
Inside, a middle-aged man in a dingy green cap takes a long sip out of a Styrofoam cup.
“How you doin’ neighbor?
“Pretty good,” says a gray-haired farmer, digging his hands deep inside the pockets of his faded overalls. “Maybe we’ll get some rain.”
“It sprinkled out at my house this morning,” another farmer offers.
“Well, I wish you’d brought it to town,” store owner Jimmy Davis says as he joins the coffee circle, slapping one of the men on the shoulder as he walks by.
“Supposed to be a 50 to 60-percent chance,” another says.
Jimmy shakes his head. He’s heard these hopeful forecasts too many times. He wants to believe them, but according to his calculations, Archer City hasn’t seen a true rainstorm in three years.
“I’m ready,” he says. “Just bring me 20 inches, and what I can’t hold, I’ll let it go to my neighbor.”
“We definitely need it,” the older farmer says. “Goodness gracious, we need it.”
“We better be praying about it and not just talking about,” Jimmy advises.
Behind them, David G. Owen — the G stands for “Good Boy,” according to Jimmy — hands Bobby Roderick his receipt and steps from behind the counter.
“Hey, Bobby, you wanna go eat this evenin’?”
“Yeah, I guess,” he shrugs.
“I’ll call you when I get off then.”
“Who’s cookin’?” Jimmy asks.
“The Lucky Dollar or Dairy Queen one,” David says. “We’ll marry that Dairy Queen cook tonight.”
“Well boys,” Jimmy says, “if y’all had a wife like mine, you’d just snap your fingers and tell her to cook whatever she wants, and it’d be a done deal.”
David laughs. “When I snapped mine the other morning at 4 o’clock, she hit the road. She went to work, and I haven’t seen her since.”
The locals continue their conversation as Jimmy slips into his office to answer the phone. He jots down an order, then asks his bookkeeper, Jo Welter, how her home bathroom renovation is going.
“They told me they were going to charge more if my husband tries to help,” she says. “John’s motto is, ‘If it ain’t broke, fix it ‘til it is.’”
“That’s quite a motto,” Jimmy says. “My wife and I cannot work in the same room on the same project. She’s too hot-headed.”
He strolls back into the store as another customer is leaving. Hardly anyone leaves without speaking to Jimmy.
“Is it going to rain today, Mr. Davis?” the young customer asks.
“I’m ready,” Jimmy says, swinging open the glass door for him.
“It needs to rain until it’s knee-deep on a giraffe,” the customer says, climbing into his truck.
A brief flash of lightning illuminates the clouds and is followed by the low rumble of thunder. Jimmy scans the darkening sky and heads back inside.
“Today’s the day, boys!”