The word, rain, is a most popular word these days in Texas.

Current conversations  often center on this question, “When will it rain again?”

Even the weather experts on TV, radio and other news media outlets will frequently miss their predictions on this precious commodity – rain.

Stephenville, like most areas in Texas, is suffering from the lack of moisture. The rain records of Ye OLD Columnist (YOC) , which date back to 1996, find this year’s first three months to be the driest during this 18-year period. 

Before YOC continues with this three-month rain report, emphasis needs to be placed on the risk involved in writing about rain in Texas. This column is being written a few days before the publication date, April 1. There’s always a chance rain could fall between the writing time and the  publishing time. So please bear with me.

Here are YOC’s Stephenville rain totals for the first quarter (three months) of 2014 –

January -- .03 of an inch; February -- .31 of an inch and March -- .42 of an inch. Total -- .76 of an inch.  Measurable rain has fallen on  nine dates (one date in January, two dates in February and six dates in March). Traces of rain were noted on three dates (one in each of the three months).

Sleet, ice or snow has been noted on six dates (four in February and two in March).     

The average rainfall for these three months is 6.10 inches (1.70 inches in January, 2.10 inches in February and 2.30 inches in March).   At the end of the three months, Stephenville is 5.34 inches below the average.

The amount of rain falling here in the past three months is by far the least amount since YOC’s records began 18 years ago. The year, 2011, holds the distinction of  being the second driest with 2.18 inches.

On the other end of the rain scale the first three months with the largest amount of rain came in 2007 when 12.77 inches were registered. A close second came in 1997, when 12.71 inches of moisture fell in the city.

Average rainfall for April is 3.20 inches.

Devoted Texans

David Tomlinson, local mortician, Perry Elliott, retired Stephenville banker, and Perry’s wife, Meldeen, are devoted Tarleton State University Texans. They attend almost all the Texans’ athletic contests, especially football and basketball.

The Texans recently played in this Region’s basketball playoffs in Denver, Colorado. These three persons made the long trip in Perry’s auto.

On the return to Stephenville, they drove “straight through.” YOC attempted to put the mileage numbers  in his pocket calculator;  however, the calculator ran out of numbers.

Loss of a foursome

Four key staff persons at Tarleton State University are leaving the university. Two are resignations and two are retirements.  

Resigning  are Laurie Gaiser, School Relations (Student Recruitment); and Lori Jefferies, Development Office. Retiring are Alta Cashon, Student Financial Aid; and Ronnie Hearne, Head Basketball Coach for Women.  Hearne’s replacement will be the Assistant Coach, Misty Wilson. Snippets will have more to say about Coach Hearne in a future column.  These four were devoted employees at TSU, and their presence will be missed. 

Where were you?

The power outage over the city on Friday, March 21, came at a crucial time. The outage began about 5 p.m. and lasted approximately 45 minutes.

Individuals attempting to check out of grocery stores were prevented from buying their selected products due to the cash registers not operating. Restaurants were forced to shut down during the “blackout.” Even the annual catfish feed at the local St. Brendan’s Catholic Church was temporarily halted. Let’s hope ONCOR,  TXU or whatever their name might be, can keep the power flowing in the future. YOC likes a warm supper about 5 p.m.     

Late June

The local Citibank will be among 29 Citibanks closing in Texas in late June. Banks affected by the closing include branches in Abilene (5), Comanche, Mineral Wells, Eastland, Wichita Falls (2) and others. Reports indicate Citibank will maintain a strong presence in the Metroplex, the Houston area and the Midland-Odessa vicinity.

Other banking news

Work is moving along on Stephenville’s newest bank – Farmers & Merchants (F&M)  Bank, located  in the 2600  block of West Washington St.

Joe Thompson, F&M president, indicates the bank hopes to be in its new quarters in May. The bank has been operating in recent months in a temporary building, immediately west of the permanent bank building.

’TIL NEXT TIME –  “Here I am, an old man in a dry month, being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.” – T.S. Eliott (1888-1965), American poet and publisher.

Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville.