Here is Past Deadline from the June 27/13 issue of The Perth Courier.

The band played on

 I’m going to do it again. I am going to talk about the weather. I’m sorry, it’s just that weather turned out to be a rather major preoccupation on the weekend.

I’m a big fan of the “rock hanging from a string in the yard” method of weather forecasting. You, know: if the rock is wet it’s raining, if it’s white it’s snowing, if it’s swinging it’s windy…and so on. Dress in layers and carry an umbrella and sunscreen everywhere you go. Welcome to Canada.

Unfortunately, though, looking out the window at a rock isn’t a terribly reliable method for longer-range forecasting.

On Saturday, I was left in charge of making the call about whether an outdoor evening concert at Murphys Point would proceed. The weather had been unsettled all day. The sound guy was on standby. The band needed to know by 5 p.m.

Suddenly I had to be a meteorologist. Me, the one who looks out the window for up-to-the-minute guidance, had to decide by 5 p.m. whether an outdoor concert scheduled for 8 p.m. would actually be hindered by predicted thunderstorms.

Dudes. The weather changes every 10 minutes here.

I went online and consulted with Environment Canada. Various radar perspectives were conflicting. One version made it look almost certain we would be pummeled, while another predicted clearer skies. The Weather Network added to the ominous version.

Add to the mix the fact there can be a great variance between the conditions in Perth and those 20 minutes away on the Rideau system and I was a puddle of uncertainty.

Googling “Omigod should I cancel the concert tonight” was not helpful.

I considered “tweeting” CBC weather guy Ian Black (he’s on the Twitter, you know) to ask what he would do, but I figure he gets asked stuff like that all the time and it must be terribly annoying, so I refrained.

Instead I did what I do best: I harassed all my friends. (I like to call it “consulting to make a collegial decision.”)

I called the sound guy three times and texted him, too. Adam proved to be optimistic and good to go. Rain was no problem, he said, although thunder and lightning wouldn’t be so good.

I checked with the ever-patient Alida at the park about 47 times. Okay – maybe only three or four times. I asked the other volunteers and Groom-boy for their opinions. One volunteer was driving towards us from southern Ontario through torrential rain. (Eeep.)

It wasn’t looking super good. The sky was darkening. The radar wasn’t telling me anything definitive and Ian Black hadn’t channeled my inner thoughts to send a spontaneous tweet that said, “For anyone planning an outdoor event tonight, here’s what I would do….”

So I called the band. They, too, had been checking the radar and were just as uncertain. We were about one dark cloud away from calling the whole thing off, but the band decided to play on!

We were off! Adam (and dad Steve) and I got started with preparations. The sky was clear and it seemed like a really nice evening was in store.

Then the band called en route. “We’re in Merrickville. It’s pouring! Should we continue?”

I gave the sky the stink eye. It was brightening. There was a lovely breeze. Loons were calling. “It’s quite lovely here,” I said.

And so the Celtic Rathskallions set forth once more. They arrived, they put on an awesome show, the audience cheered and not a drop of rain fell.

Hurray! (And phew!)

The Celtic Rathskallions. Stephanie Gray photo

The Celtic Rathskallions. Stephanie Gray photo

(This little weather drama pales in comparison to the terrible flooding out west. My thoughts are with family and friends dealing with this crisis.)


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