July 30, 2015

Homer or Otis, You Must Decide

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

We all must make decisions. We do so hundreds of times a day. The more important stuff can take a little longer to decide but decide we must. As a child living in farming community I remember the biggest decision during a drought was to decide how to wet the crops. A few had irrigation and used it but if the drought persisted the only answer was rain. Once that point was reached there came the decision on how to get it here. Prayer or hire a rainmaker.

We had a local rainmaker Homer Berry that was a bit famous. He said he could make it rain and he only charged $2,000 per inch of rain. Local farmers, if desperate enough, would get together, raise some money and get Homer started. Due to Homer being related to one of our local families I believe our farmers got a discount.

Homer would bring his pickup with a large barrel in the back of the pickup. The barrel was filled with charcoal covered in a scientific mixture of cloud seeding chemicals. He would light the charcoal and with smoke rolling out the barrel he would drive around our community seeding the clouds. He was especially careful to take the roads his paying customers lived on. I am sure he wanted the rain to visit their land.

I can remember on one visit the rains began and my Dad and I drove to Homer’s headquarters he had set up at his relative’s home. As we drove we were truly amazed at the ample rain that was coming down. Ample that is until we neared the relative’s home and noticed there was little rain there. Not enough to settle the dust on the road. It had rained a circle around Homer and his relative.  Maybe the relative didn’t contribute?

Prayer was always offered up for an end to the drought. Along with the prayers you usually had the prayer group part singing Showers of Blessing, a beautiful hymn written by Daniel W. Whittle in 1883. A hymn still popular today and a beautiful rendition can be heard by Willie Nelson on YouTube. This seemed to suffice the group and ease the tension unless the drought continued. AT that point the big guns were called in.

Brother Otis Chapman was a man of good reputation, an evangelical preacher and a leader in the American Agriculture Movement. Brother Otis had represented the farmers of America well in the march on Washington, DC in the 1970s. He would be the right leader in this situation.
A date was set, notices went out and politicians were requested to attend and had complied. Everything was set for the following Sunday afternoon at the church. But there was a problem. Brother Otis could not attend on that given Sunday. Brother Otis would be in revival in another community some distance away and would be unable to get back that afternoon for the prayer service. We would need to wait until the following Sunday to have the meeting. My question was, “Is everyone ok with allowing the drought to continue another week while we wait on Brother Otis?” 

They all seemed to be.

So I must ask you which do you choose Homer or Otis. Choose Homer, the high tech modern day answer to a great need, or choose Otis the faith driven decision but be at the mercy of another’s schedule. Neither decision worked out well for the farmers. The answer was more irrigation where and when possible.

The same is true for writers when marketing their book. You must take every opportunity to irrigate your book sales. Don’t wait on technology to do it or faith that it will be done. You must do what you can to see your sales grow. So instead of being one that is depending on Homer or Otis, be one of the few irrigating your crops. Make a decision to do all you can personally to advance your sales. 

After all it is your crop.        



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