Do You Think the Rain Will Hurt the Rhubarb?

rhubarb-main-m-mWhen I was a kid, my parents had this silly expression that they would often use when it rained. It was actually a question and answer, and although we had no idea what it meant, my siblings and I always laughed at it. We knew it was something corny and “eye rolling”, and liked to be the first one to say it during a rainy day. Q. “Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb? A.“Not if it’s in cans!”. Now really, what the heck? We didn’t eat rhubarb while I was growing up. Truth be told, I STILL have never eaten it. Rhubarb was a “weed” in our backyard and I just haven’t been able to make myself eat it. But, THANK GOD the rain never hurt it! HUH?

Watching the rain pour down this morning,I  thought back to the times we’d say this back and forth to each other, and I discovered the  simple lesson in the saying. I am the rhubarb, and the rain will NOT hurt me.

This year  brought a whirlwind of change, challenge, and championship. I was sidelined with injuries for 3 months, experienced a sudden exponential increase in my business activity,  one of my children turned 30, another is getting married in three weeks, I ran numerous races while struggling with pain, I started this blog, I hired a stylist to overhaul my wardrobe, and in one week, I will do my first ever triathlon. Oh yeah, and I participated in my first every music video. (One might say the pressure got to me….or perhaps it’s a mid life crisis….”Poor Patty, she used to have it all together. I don’t know what happened.” BTW, I’m the one that starts out wearing the suit-and then…)

(DISCLAIMER: This goofy video was made by members of the Warrior Room-a Kettle bell gym where I work out. We did it as a surprise birthday present for the owner)

We all have our coping mechanisms, right? As I get older, I find that no matter how hard I train, whether or not I WANT to be faster, stronger, younger, thinner, or prettier, more successful at work, or less stressed, I have to put everything in perspective, and prioritize my expectations. It is a constant series of evaluation, planning, adjusting, measuring, and learning. I have had coaches for just about every aspect of my life: business coach, running coach, triathlon coach, voice coach, acting coach,spiritual coach, and probably more that I am just not thinking of at the moment. These people have my highest praise and appreciation. (And of course, a big chuck of my earnings!) But without them, I wouldn’t have had the countless unique, exciting, and amazing accomplishments that I cherish every day.

I’m excited about my next adventures and where life will lead me this year and beyond. I’m simultaneously preparing for my triathlon, my daughter’s wedding, and the deluge of family members that will converge on my house in three weeks. You have no idea what it is like when we get together. God help us! One step at a time, I guess. I actually feel sorry for my neighbors.

So, do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb? I don’t think so. Mine are in cans. Big, fat, strong, solid, bad ass cans. Bring on the rain. Ain’t no stopping THIS rhubarb.

What challenge have you had this year that caught you off guard, and how did you overcome it?




19 thoughts on “Do You Think the Rain Will Hurt the Rhubarb?

  1. Hi, I was born in 1982. My grandfather used to say this all the time to me as a kid, “do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb.” He passed away when I was about 8 years old. I never quite understood what the phrase meant, but it is one vivid memory I have of him. I was just thinking about this today, and of course, my curiosity lead me to Google. Maybe he was trying to give me this lesson as a kid. He was an entrepreneur, an Italian immigrant who won a purple heart at the Battle of the Bulge, and just always had a very positive outlook on life, no matter what was thrown his way. Thank you for the explanation and write up.



  2. My Grandfather always gave me a different response he said “not if the gate is closed” which I always found funny yet I can’t find anyone else who has heard this version

  3. My father used to reply — “Not if it’s planted in cement!”
    Actually, my folks always said this when it rained, but my dear old dad used to say it when he wanted to change the subject — kinda like “nice weather we’re having…”

  4. Thanks for posting this. My father and uncle would say this and laugh. I always thought it was an inside joke and I’ve wondered about it for 50 years. Didn’t know it was an old idiom.

  5. I never heard the saying but I can tell you I have beautiful rhubarb in my garden and you are missing a real joy of life…..rhubarb jelly, rhubarb wine, rhubarb pie, rhubarb moonshine……mostly with strawberries. I even saw a company in Wyoming or Montana is making strawberry rhubarb soda. Please try some…..strawberry rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream… won’t regret it!!

  6. My dad would say,
    “ do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb? Not if it’s in cans, but it’ll grow warts on cucumbers “….. he learned ur from an old farmer, but never explained what it me t to me .mike c.

  7. My grandmother used to tell me when she would get caught talking to her friends (Particularly about boys) they would change the subject with a quick segue o , ” so, think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?”. Also, in an uncomfortable moment where there was a long pause in the conversation, someone would blurt out, ” think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?”. This ending the long dramatic break with something they thought funny.
    Those are my 60 year old memories of the phrase.

  8. My grandpappy would always eventually answer this question (usually asked by him followed by a prolonged silence) with “No! But it sure will pound the piss out of the peas!”

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