Painting Joiner’s Store took a tad longer for Jimmy and me than it would have for most folks. Our meticulous repair of historic boards, exceptional surface preparation, and precision style painting extended over several months. That was partly because we only worked in the mornings. The other reason was weather conditions.
In assessing the suitability of the weather each morning, I relied on something the late Earl Peavy had told me years earlier. He had stopped by my office at Bank of Dooly one blistering hot summer day for a short chat. As is common to southern conversation, I led off with an innovative question. “Hot enough for you Mr. Earl?”
“I’m not all that hard to please when it comes to temperature,” he said. “Some folks are always complaining that it’s too hot or too cold, but I’m not like that. I’m comfortable most anywhere between 71 and 73 degrees.”
I used Mr. Earl’s guidance on temperature, plus added three other factors to personalize a paintability index model, or PIM as it’s called in the underground paint industry.
Wind is an essential consideration for outdoor painting. A light breeze, between ten and twelve miles per hour, is ideal. I have painted at wind speeds well above twelve mph, but I don’t recommend it for amateurs. I’ve also painted at wind speeds below ten miles per hour, but only when the temperature is less than 70 degrees. Wind velocity preference is a rather subjective matter, so I encourage beginning painters to develop their own parameters.
Rain probability obviously must be taken into account. For the store project I used personal observation as well as local forecasts. If WALB First Alert Weather said the chances of rain were 20 percent or more, I didn’t jeopardize our work by foolishly forging ahead. And regardless of the forecast, if I saw a cloud that made me think it might rain, we took the day off.
Attitude is the fourth and perhaps most important consideration. In my experience it’s best not to paint when you really don’t want to. Irritable Painter Syndrome is no laughing matter, as my wife will readily attest.
My paintability index model is not perfect, but you are welcome to give it a try. Jimmy and I didn’t paint every day, but when we did, I had plenty of time to reflect on childhood memories of Joiner’s Store. Mr. Edgar Andrews provided one of those long-ago moments which I still enjoy.
Weather is not just a consideration in painting. It’s long been a topic in country stores. One of my favorite conversations about weather involved Mr. Edgar and my Uncle Emmett, who ran the store. Mr. Edgar often stopped by for a cold drink and a visit.
It was a hot summer day in the mid-1960s and had not rained in weeks. Crops were withering, their drooping leaves begging for moisture as drought conditions weighed heavily on everyone’s mind.
Uncle Emmett never rushed his words. He spoke with an honest drawl between puffs on his Tampa Nugget. “Edgar,” he slowly said, “do you think it’s ever going to rain again?”
Mr. Edgar didn’t hesitate. “Emmett,” he replied with a chipper tone, “I’ve noticed it always rains right after a dry spell.”
Gray ashes were clinging tentatively to the end of Uncle Emmett’s cigar. He gazed rather studiously before deciding to thump them off, allowing them to fall beside his rocking chair on to the concrete porch. “Edgar,” he finally responded, “I believe you’re right about that.”
Their brief but memorable exchange is typical of the subtle humor once common at country stores across the South. I occasionally hit the replay button on that scene, because sometimes I focus too much on the drought at hand instead of expectantly watching for the rain.
Perhaps they were simply talking about the weather that day, or maybe it was also a comment on life. All I know for sure is that it was good to revisit old memories while painting Joiner’s Store.
And I just heard the rumble of distant thunder.