The Rain Don’t Fall On Me

Very little can be worse on the road than a thunderstorm with you in the open. OK, there can be a pity factor when people drive by and see you. But some drive past and splash you; now you are so wet that others will not stop to pick you up because you’ll get their car filthy.
A time comes in this torment when you start walking. You hope that you’ll find shelter, any shelter, or even get picked up by the police. But, no, he drives by and splashes you too.
One evening about sunset in October, I found myself in my least favorite place to be hitching – south coastal Maine. I reached a point where I refused to take a step further towards the next town where I had already had run-ins with the local version of Sheriff Oppie. So there I waited with my poncho covering the guitar case and my hat so wet it had lost all shape.
At last, I started singing my rain song. I had learned bits and pieces of the music at various places from Greenwich Village to Boston to Baltimore or maybe Philly, and whenever I got stuck in the rain, I’d walk and sing the song till I found either shelter or a ride.
It was an old Blind Willie Johnson song:

“Oh, the rain don’t fall on me no more,
Oh, the rain don’t fall on me no more,
Oh, the rain don’t fall on me no more.

Well promised your children too,
bein’ sent from heaven to you
Oh, the rain don’t fall on me no more.

Oh, the rain don’t fall on me no more

Don’t you know the promise is true,
It was sent from heaven to you,
Oh, the rain won’t fall on me no more.

It’s for you and the children too,
Oh, the rain won’t fall on me no more.

There may be more but, this is all I’ve ever known. And I stood there and sang it until a pair of headlights stopped. As the door opened, I continued singing the song. Jumping in and not looking any better than a soaked cat, the driver asked me what song I was singing. So I introduced him to ” The rain don’t fall on me.” And we drove all the way to Becky’s Diner in Portland, where we introduced a soaking wet bunch of fisherman to the song, made up new verses, and drank an urn of coffee dry.


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