Buttermilk skies bring harmony to Election Day




Monday evening, I rolled over in the darkness and whispered to my husband, “I’m a little anxious about the election results, are you?”

“Yes,” he answered, “but we voted, and it’s out of our hands now.” (Which, I think could also be translated as: “Goodnight woman, I’m exhausted and have to get up at 5 to run my business.”)

Earlier that day, after finishing a work project, I dropped off some Hoagy Carmichael lyrics that my dad had requested. A woman at one of his Greenwood senior-living facility gigs, where he plays music and sings, had requested Carmichael’s “Ole Buttermilk Sky.”

He knew most of the lyrics but wanted to get them all correct so he could play her favorite song. “Buttermilk Sky,” highlighted in the 1946 film “Canyon Passage,” was nominated for an Academy Award for best original song. And I know you are all curious to know what Carmichael meant by his song “Buttermilk Sky” — it refers to a sky covered with rows of small, fleecy, cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds. Or fluffs of curdled, cultured milk.

A buttermilk sky is often an indicator of atmospheric moisture and instability and can foreshadow thunderstorm development — but doesn’t always mean that rain or a storm is inherent. Sometimes high clouds or a buttermilk sky is present after a storm has gone by.

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