Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Rain, rain, go away.
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play,
So rain, rain, go away!

I sing that nursery rhyme to my son every day it rains. Today is one of those days! It’s been raining non-stop since I woke up. My son loves to play outside. If he doesn’t play outside at least once a day, he builds up too much energy. All that unused energy turns into naughtiness – and then no one’s happy!

Luckily, today is one of my “lazy” days. I don’t have classes until the evening, so I was able to help my wife take him out. We went to a local shopping mall where we did some shopping (we bought a new rain cover for our son’s stroller!), visited a pet shop, had lunch at a family restaurant, and spent an hour or so in a kids’ amusement center. The boy’s sleeping now, so I guess that’s “mission accomplished!”

In English, we have many ways to describe rain. If it’s only raining a little, just a drop here and there, we can say, “It’s spitting.” If it’s a little heavier, just enough to need an umbrella, we can say, “It’s drizzling.” I guess a day like today would just be described as rain. However, if it were much heavier, we could say, “It’s pouring.” When it’s raining really, really heavily, we can say, "it’s raining cats and dogs!”

That last expression originated in England 3 or 4 hundred years ago. Back then cities were much dirtier than they are now. Buildings were built very close together, and people threw their kitchen scraps out their windows. Dogs & cats would live off the scraps that piled up between the buildings. When they died, their bodies stayed stuck between the buildings until very strong rains washed them out into the streets. When people passing by saw the bodies, they would jokingly say the bodies had fallen from the sky with the rain.

Next time it rains, try to describe what type of rain it is using one of the phrases above. In the meantime, spare a thought for me – I’ve got to ride to the station in the rain now, and it’s pouring!

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