The narrator identifies Old Man Warner as the oldest man in town. The black box in use for the lottery had been put into use even before he was born, so clearly, the ritual of the lottery has been in place for hundreds of years. He says, "petulantly," "there's always been a lottery," when talk of discontinuing it arises.The adverb "petulantly" connotes Old Man Warner being crotchety—an out-of-touch, querulous relic of a bygone era.
When he says "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon," his rhymed couplet sounds like an outdated, aphoristic recitation that has lost its meaning in a new age. In writing "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson perhaps meant for readers to question other rituals and traditions that had lost their relevance or meaning and that might be essentially barbaric. Stoning a person to death undoubtedly qualifies as a barbaric ritual that needs to be reexamined, and Old Man Warner's voice as its defender is equally questionable.