Smokey Bear celebrates his birthday every year right here in Transylvania County and I often drive up for the big party. At the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest. Since this was Smokey's 70th, I decided to drive up to watch the children celebrate. It is such fun to see the little ones squirting water, making birthday cards, and learning about fire prevention. And eating cake. Several sheet cakes are prepared and served to the guests and Smokey himself always makes an appearance.
[Educational side note: There is a riddle popular with children.
Question: What is Smokey the Bear's middle name? Answer: The
Smokey Bear does NOT have a middle name. His name is Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear. "The" came into being when a popular song was written about him, but it is not part of his name.]
The weather looked a little "iffy" at best. But one never knows where the rain will fall in the mountains so I decided to give it a try. I drove up the mountain and when I got within a mile of the Cradle of Forestry, it started to rain. And it rained pretty hard. So I decided not to even drive in to the parking lot, even though the festivities would be continuing indoors. I would have gotten soaked walking from the parking lot to the building.
Photograph by P Sullivan from BlueRidgeNow
I decided to keep driving up to the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway and see what the storm looked like from there. It was rather unsettling to look out at the rain not far away from where I stood.
Rain moving across the mountains
I started back down the mountain, listening to music and enjoying the light rain. And then the rain became heavier and heavier. It was so loud I could no longer hear the music. My windshield wipers were on maximum and could barely keep up with the rain. Finally I decided to pull over and wait for the storm to abate. It kept pounding on the car but finally slowed a bit.
The rain followed me (or I followed it) all the way back to Brevard. Where the streets were dry. I drove up another mountain to our house to find the sun shining with nary a sign of rain.
Reminded me of one of my favorite cartoons.
click to enlarge
So I missed Smokey's big party on his 70th birthday. But I heard from good sources that he doesn't look a day older than 20.