We knew it was coming when Bert came into the Mule Barn truck stop the other day. He took his usual stool at the philosophy counter and world dilemma think tank, where he reigns as Cutting Edge Technology Advisor to the board of directors.
It was that glint in his eye that gave it away.
"Hi Doc. Say, isn't this a beautiful day? It's 32 out there."
"Doesn't seem that cold," said Steve, our resident cowboy, who tends to look at everything from the back of a horse.
"Oh, not 32 degrees, dear friend ..."
Dear friend? We're in for it.
"... but 32 inches of mercury in the barometer. Winds are calm. Sun is shining. No chance of snow."
"You have a barometer?"
"Oh yeah. You can't always depend on the TV weather guy, you know. You see, it's not just where the barometer is that tells you what the weather's like, but it's where it is now in relation to where it was before. That's what they call the trend."
"Heard that word before," said Doc.
"It's scientific. Got a book about it the other day. Maizie picked it up at the library. You see, to the layman, the world outside looks kinda nice, doesn't it? Sunshine, no wind. Looks like a beautiful day. But to the expert ... to the meteorologist ... that's just the start. Oh yes. He'll look outside at the beautiful weather, but he realizes it's simply a precursor to the weather we'll have tomorrow. He'll know, you see, from how the mercury is responding in the glass ... we call the barometer a glass ... what kind of weather to expect tomorrow. That's what sets us apart from other people."
"Because you read a book?"
" ... And I have my weather station ... yes."
"So what kinda weather is coming tomorrow, Bert?"
"Oh ... 'bout like today."
"So the barometer told you that?"
Bert looked a little sheepish. "I didn't have time to figure it out. Heard it on the news."