I'm singing in the rain,
Just singing in the rain…
Crane, Texas, is in Crane County. Crane County encompasses 795 square miles of what is best described as prairie. The Pecos River is on the south and west borders. There’s also a lake called Juan Cardona Lake. I know. If there’s a lake it can’t be all desert. But this is a salt lake. Years ago salt was mined in the lake by Peter Gallagher and Company. At one time it was one of the most important areas in the state. I remember getting one of those junk mail flyers in the mail once, about taking your boat out to Cardona Lake and the great recreation in Crane County. Ha! Obviously they have never been out there.
The annual rainfall in Crane is about 13 inches. The past two weeks we got 11 and one half inches of rain at the house. That’s almost a year’s worth at once. Sometimes when it rains out here, even with a significant amount, it soaks into the ground and by the next day you couldn’t even tell it had rained. This time you can definitely tell! The rain has transformed the desert into a lush sea of green! Everywhere you look it’s a verdant patchwork of emerald, lime, and olive. I know it won’t last but for now I’m savoring the vision.
There’s a plant out here we call purple sage. I don’t know a lot about it except that it grows in the dry climate. My mother wanted a bush after seeing it in bloom out here. When she went to the nursery to ask she got a completely different plant. Anyway, it has beautiful purple flowers. When it rains, even just a bit, the bushes pop with purple. Just as suddenly all of the flowers go away. It’s interesting. There are plenty of these in the median between the highways and as landscape along the interstates. You most likely wouldn’t even notice them unless they were blooming. We have some in the back of the house. I took a picture yesterday and the bush was pretty well covered. I went out today and they are gone.
It’s pretty sparse out here regarding population. There are not many people but a lot of open space. It’s always been that way. In 1890 only fifteen people lived in Crane County, according to census figures. As late as 1900, only fifty-one people lived here. Now, according to the 2000 census figures and the sign at the edge of town, there are 3191 people. The population has gone down since we first got here. The old families with their particular style of evil are starting to die off. But new evil or maybe just descendants who have finally learned the art take their place. Of course there are good people here too. The bad ones just have a bigger presence. I really don’t like it much here. It’s not a nice place. But I’ve been here so long I can’t imagine living somewhere else. I will probably never have the chance anyway so it really doesn’t matter.
There are a lot of people famous in their own minds from Crane. That seems to go with small towns. But there are a couple of ‘real’ famous people from Crane as well. Elmer Kelton, a famous western novelist, was from Crane. He wasn’t born here but his family moved him here when he was three years old. He authored over 40 novels, and published over more than 50 years. Another famous person from Crane is Kenny Walker. When he was two years old, Walker became profoundly deaf from a bout with meningitis. He is one of only two deaf players in the history of the National Football League. Now he works with the Iowa School for the Deaf as a counselor and a football coach.
The green is wonderful even though I know it won’t last. We have temperatures in the high 90s to 100s expected all next week. It won’t take long for the sun to bake the green into the brown it always is. In the meantime I’ll be waiting for the next rain, or at least a cloudy day. It could be a while because it doesn’t rain in hell.
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place.
I've a smile on my face,
I'll walk down the lane
With a happy refrain.
Singing, singing in the rain.
In the rain.
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