Before Thunder Valley

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is some fiction, some historical fact, and some wishful thinking, all rolled into a short story about how Teller, the Rain-Dreamer, got his start as a so-called Rain-Maker.
(The previous story in this three part series was, "Thunder Valley Dreaming".)

The process of Rain-Dreaming, the process of dreaming about future rain storms, always takes it's toll on Teller; it leaves him felling like he has a boat load of questions and only a bait tank full answers.

Teller has never had a, ("Hah, Hah!"), moment when it comes to his dreams.

Do you know what I mean? When a rumbling voice says something like, "Hi Teller, I'm God, here is your dream prophecy for the week."

 

But strangely enough, the whole dreaming thing started right after Teller was Baptized into Christ, born again at the ripe-old-age of sixteen.

His family had moved from one state too another. And when they settled into their new surroundings they started attending a fundamentalist church that was in the town they moved to.

After a few months, all his brothers and sisters decided to be Baptized, so Teller didn't want to be the Odd-Kid-Out, so he went along with the program. But there was a difference when Teller took his place in the river.

When the Preacher dunked Teller under the water, he lost his footing and let go of the kid. Not wanting to spoil the moment, the Preacher said the appropriate sayings, real fast, and then tried to pull Teller back before the river current could get a firm hold on him. Unfortunately, it was too late, Teller was whisk away.

Teller doesn't remember much of what happened. He has little recollection of being swept downstream, or being pulled from the river a few minutes later; it was almost like he was dreaming.

When Teller was found, his body was part of a swirling whirlpool right next to a waterfall.

The river's force, or something, had lifted Teller's body up and onto a bunch of river debris, and the debris was stuck in a whirlpool, it was twirling under and around the base of the waterfall; it was almost like being in a reacquiring rainfall.

 

Well, wouldn't you know that the Preacher said it was Divine Providence that saved Teller from the jaws of death, so right then and there everyone prayed and gave thanks. And, of course, after the giving of thanks they sang the songs, "Let's all gather at the river" and "Amazing Grace." When all was said and done, it was truly an inspirational day.

 

After a week or so, Teller started having "Foretelling Dreams," mostly about the weather and especially about coming rainfall.

At first Teller thought the dreams were funny, other times he thought they were strange, in a spooky sort of way. So he sought the advice of his parents about them.

His parents consulted their parents and other friends and family, they all said to take it to the preacher, or the church elders.

But it was too late by then, the preacher got wind of what was being said, and he said that the dreams were the work of the devil.

The Preacher said, "The Good Book says that there are No More Profits, and these dreams are prophetic in nature. So they must be the Devil's work! The Devil is trying to beguile the boy and divide the congregation."

Then the Preacher told the Elders that they needed to curb the boy's enthusiasm for predictions, either that or Teller would have to leave the church

I guess that the church Teller was attending didn't believe that the gifts of the Spirit were still being doled out.

But had they believed, they might have concluded that the dreams were meant to be a sign to the congregation; a means to stop the slow but steady decline in the church's population. Having an accurate weather forecaster might bring more farmers and their families to the church on Sunday.

None the less, Teller kept on having the dreams, but he was very selective as to who he told them to.

You see, there were a few farmers in the congregation that sought Teller's weather advice; on the sly of course.

And word among farmers spreads fast, so farmers that didn't belong to that church started visiting Teller too, they were seeking wisdom that the Farmer's Almanac wasn't providing.

It was all very hush, hush, and during those two years Teller found out that some people were willing to pay money for an accurate rain forecast.

But the money wasn't all that much, just small donations here and there, so after high school Teller joined the Navy to see the world.

 

 

After seeing those parts of the world that his ship visited, and those parts nearby that Teller wanted to see while on leave, Teller returned to his weather forecasting ways.

Yes, Teller has found more ways to make a living off of his dream information, but doing some good along the way always helped the way Teller felt about the way he used the dreams.

When I say, "Doing Some Good," well that's hard to explain unless I give you an example, so here it is.

 

Teller had just mustered out of the Navy in San Diego, California, and had been saving his money just for this occasion.

And the first thing he did was search the auto sales adds and found the car of his dreams; the 1967 Pontiac GTO.

After some hometown-style bickering, a deal was reached for an all-cash sale.

Next, Teller drove his GTO to a nearby music store and traded in his old beat-up guitar on a near-new Gibson, Les Paul Custom; complete with an amplifier and microphone set-up.

Then he got on State Highway (1) going north along the coast. Teller set his sights for Long Beach, a place his ship had put to port for supplies and minor repairs.

While docked, most of the crew took shore leave.

Now Teller was back in Long Beach for some days of fun in the sun and Roller-Coaster rides at The Pike; the Pike was an amusement park that was very popular with sailors, and the locals.

Next he drove to Anaheim, California, less than a hour's drive from Long Beach, and he checked into the Disneyland Hotel.

No car was needed after checking in, he just took the Monorail into Disneyland right from his hotel.

He stayed at the Hotel for two days and three nights, just to get his fill of the Magic Kingdom.

When he left there on Friday, he drove along Harbor Boulevard to Knott's Berry Farm, where he checked into a nearby motel. Because every Friday and Saturday nights they had Square Dancing at the Knott's Berry Farm Covered Wagon Camp.

 

It was fun, and a busy time for Teller, so to top off his little vacation he decided to take a break. He packed his bag and guided his GTO onto the freeway. He was on his way to Big Bear Lake, California; he had heard that the fishing was good and the ladies were pretty.

Teller left Knott's Berry Farm after breakfast, and he checked into a cabin by the lake before dark on the same day.

***

 

When Teller dreams, they are not ordinary dreams that disappear soon after waking, Teller has those too. But his special dreams stay with him for months, some of them stay in his memory for years, and they are not always about rain.

Like the time Teller was passing through Wayne County, Ohio, and he stayed overnight at an old hotel in a place called Hope. It was the first night that he was there that he had a Rain-Dream; a very bad Rain-Dream.

After the dream, Teller knew he had to get people to congregate to High Ground by Friday. And he had three days to get it done if he could do it at all.

Teller was sure that no-one would believe a stranger about danger coming, especially if they knew the message was from a dream the stranger had.

But knowing that farming people love Free Entertainment and knowing most of them love country music, Teller formed a plan.

After talking to some locals, and the lady at the newspaper office, Teller found and rented a group of very large Storage Barns near the mainline railroad tracks.

Then Teller had lots of posters printed up. And after the posters were printed, he hired local kids to hang the posters all over town. Then he paid to have posters delivered with the newspapers to all the farmers in the valley.

The Posters just said, "Welcome, everyone, to the 4th of July Hoedown and fireworks show! Bring food and drinks, everything else is Free!!!

Well Teller was right, the High Ground that the Storage Barns were seated on was just high enough, so were the raised railroad tracks that cut across the farmland, and headed east out of Wayne County.

That was July 4, 1969. Later, the news would call it Ohio's Independence Day Flood.

A record 14 inches of rain fell in twelve hours. The rain caused three large dams to fail, thus there was a loss of human and animal life, as well as property destroyed.

Wayne County caught the worst of the flooding, but even outlying areas, like Hope Junction, went under water for weeks.

 

Teller was never sure if he saved any lives that day, but he was sure that the 200, or so, people that came for the concert, liked the music. Being dry and safe under the Storage Barns was a good thing too.

The fireworks were a pretty sight, strange as that might seem. Seeing rockets bursting in the rain filled sky, and across the flooding lands still brought wonder to many faces.

And even with the devastation underway, there were lots of pleasurable Oohs and Aahs to go around.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

04-08-2021


Submitted: April 19, 2021

© Copyright 2021 D. Thurmond aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Serge Wlodarski

Teller has good tastes in cars and guitars. If he has any dreams about rain in the Berkshires let me know.

Mon, April 19th, 2021 8:15pm

Author
Reply

Teller says light rain is seen for the week, but they will be getting a cell moving over Ware, Mass., my wife's birth place, and they are in for a drenching, all be it short lived. LOL

Mon, April 19th, 2021 1:50pm

Ann Sepino

I love that you added to Thunder Valley Dreaming! This story paints such a colorful picture of Teller. The way that it's told from his perspective gives a new dimension to his character, one that focuses more on his desire to help and less on the 'swindler' image that the first story gives him.

Sun, April 25th, 2021 1:04pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Ann. --- With some con-artists it's all about the scam, the art of pulling a Fast-One on others. With others it's all about the money, the more the better. But then there are those that seem to have been put on a path but aren't sure why. I think Teller is the latter, and he has no idea that there are unseen forces guiding his way. But in the third story, I think Teller is starting to get the drift.

Mon, April 26th, 2021 1:09pm

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