Never Curse the Rain (Hardcover)

A Farm Boy’s Reflections on Water

By Jerry Apps

Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 9780870207945, 160pp.

Publication Date: January 12, 2017

List Price: 22.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Growing up on the family farm, Jerry Apps learned from a young age that water was precious. The farm had no running water, a windmill pumped drinking water for the small herd of cattle, and Jerry and his brothers hauled bucket after bucket of water for the family’s use. A weekly bath was considered sufficient. And when it rained, it was cause for celebration. Indeed, if ever the Apps boys complained about a rainy day spoiling their plans, their father admonished, "Never curse the rain," for the family’s very livelihood depended upon it.
In Never Curse the Rain, Jerry shares his memories of water, from its importance to his family’s crops and cattle to its many recreational uses—fishing trips, canoe journeys, and the simple pleasures of an afternoon spent dreaming in the haymow as rain patters on the barn roof. Water is still a touchstone in Jerry’s life, and he explores the ways he’s found it helpful in soothing a troubled mind or releasing creativity. He also discusses his concerns about the future of water and ensuring we always have enough. For, as Jerry writes, "Water is one of the most precious things on this planet, necessary for all life, and we must do everything we can to protect it."

About the Author

Jerry Apps is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of many books on rural history, country life, and the environment. He has co-created four documentaries with Wisconsin Public Television and has won several awards for his writing and a regional Emmy Award for the program A Farm Winter. His books for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press include The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters and Whispers and Shadows: A Naturalist’s Memoir. Jerry and his wife, Ruth, have three children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandsons. They divide their time between their home in Madison and their farm, Roshara, in Waushara County.

Praise For Never Curse the Rain: A Farm Boy’s Reflections on Water

Apps sets words into sentences as if they were jewels; he’s a beautiful writer whose warm reflections are shadowed with anxiety for the future. (Dave Luhrssen, Shepherd Express, February 3, 2017)

This book is like a handshake from a friend … [it is] the literary version of comfort food: put it in your hands, and you’ll feel as though you’re wrapped in Grandma’s hand-knitted afghan while sipping tomato soup on a grey day. Author Jerry Apps will do that to you; he’s a consummate storyteller who can sadden you on one page, tickle your funny bone two pages later, and astound you with facts in between. (Credit Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez Review, March 2017)