WeatherTalk is the Talk of the ‘Ville

Dishing on the weather. Photo: Brian Ginsberg

I’ve been raised on weather talk. As innocuous as it may seem, for country folks in Kentucky, it was not only a social ice-breaker but a necessary element of daily life.

Weather provided all the best reasons for sweet tea on the porch glider, back in the day at my grandparent’s house in Russell Springs, Kentucky; colorful aluminum tumblers filled with icy Lipton brew with condensation dripping down the side.

In the winter, it was pretty easy to predict hot cocoa in the kitchen most any time after October.

Sure, there where days with snow but off to class we went in freezing temps, inches of snow and a belly full of Nestle’s Quik.

Later in life, you could tell from the magnetic sun or giant snowflake stuck on Tom Wills’ weather board that it would be cold beer or red wine, depending on the time and place.

I obviously have a co-dependency with weather and beverages but there is no support group that I’m aware of.

Sometimes the weather makes me crave a stiff drink. I drove a VW Bug down Bardstown Road during the historic Louisville twister with Dick Gilbert hovering overhead and WHAS on the little AM radio.

Even R.E.M.sang about it. “Shall we talk about the weather?” in “Pop Song 89.”

No matter what the atmospheric conditions, aimless banter on the weather served as a greeting to an argument. What better unpredictable and unavoidable thing than weather to bring on observations and personal accounts? Right up there with politics, I’d say.

If you are old enough, storms have had a chance to become famous and get titles such as The Flood of…. or The Blizzard of …..or The Drought of…and so on.

Now that I’m older, I have the badge of honor to refer to the April 3 natural disaster as The Tornado but only in the Ohio Valley. Most folks will know you’re talking about 1974. The rest remain as “a” tornado.

Kind of like  “a” basketball game differs from “the” game when UK and U of L hold court.

Moving from Kentucky to the west coast, I was in cultural shock for many reasons but the worst was the lack of weather. Living a block from the beach in San Diego, I only encountered two seasons – perfect and foggy. I had to run with the latter as the opportunity to mingle with moisture and clouds. Short lived but welcome for this southern woman.

Then to Los Angeles where earthquakes, mudslides and fires were pawned off as seasons. Other than that, it was perfectly sunny and folks whined and stubbed up in January when it clouded over and rained.

I love the rain and the fragrance of asphalt and all things green it brings. Living in Seattle for a few years was divine for a worshipper of low clouds, misty precipitation and cool hats. I don’t think I opened an umbrella more than five times in three years. That was for tourists. It was me and my Tilly hat.

Funny thing about Northwest natives, they refer to the fall and winter months as “The Rain” and broadcasters would call for or report “sun breaks” through the days. Probably to satisfy the glut of Southern Californians relocating there after a few quakes. See: Traffic.

As we now sit on the cusp of spring, our city is on the verge of beauty. The sweet narcotic bliss of the bursting dogwoods, pear and magnolia trees against the impossibly green grass and blue sky are on their way.

On the other hand—the weather dudes are getting ready to interrupt our television programming and herd us into our halls and basements. I hope they can make better use of the thousands of dollars spent on storm tracking technology than to follow a Nimbus cloud from Evansville through every neighborhood along I-64. I must say, it’s gotten me acquainted with spots in the road that I never knew.
Wonder if the various Chambers of Commerce need to thank the weather trackers?
As for talking about the weather? I think they talk too much. When Cardosi starts gesturing to the map with open hands, this can only mean “rotation” and I will suddenly find two loads of laundry and a couple of beers to take to the basement. Works for me. Once the skies are clear I have clean clothes and a buzz.
Hopefully our sirens will work properly this season.

Then again, I think my grandmother sticking her head out the door and yelling everyone into the house worked just fine. And for all the expense of Viper, Storm Team, mongoose, cheetah…whatever… I’m all for looking out of my window and making decisions based on what the meteorologists have taught us over the years. And I’m grateful for their educational outreach.

In any event, I hope WAVE’s Kevin Harned and Brian Goode can get to the set on time and properly attired. Two instances on last week’s 11:00 news made me wonder. After the intro from Reynolds and Gee, no Harned was on-screen, only the echo of footsteps running down a hall. Then, shuffling of mic and material. Oh, there he is—smiling, out of breath but on the ready to report—save for his jacket buttoned only twice with shirt hanging out.


Brian Goode showed up looking a little rushed and equally disheveled a couple of nights later. Where are these guys coming in from? Starbucks?  Perhaps Clark Kent suffered through near-late entrances to the Daily Planet while changing from cape to suit?

Just had to bring that up, didn’t I? Hey, live broadcasting. It happens.

So, let’s have some fun and say that downtown is partly crowded, there’s a pothole warning in effect until May and people are driving like cats and dogs on the Snyder!

Have a good day and a great spring out there Louisville!