A Storm’s the Norm

In the Oregon desert where I lived two years, the few thunderstorms rated newspaper headlines. People ran for cover as if King Kong had invaded. They spoke in hushed tones of thunder, lightning and the deluge that made them search for the nearest Ark to rent.

Those storms hardly would have rated an umbrella in Indiana. Still, my father’s congregation trembled when he assumed the storm watcher persona he adopted long before The Weather Channel. Piles of purple clouds — if rotating, all the better — called for his scrutiny.

“Beautiful.” He’d wave a big, brown hand as if conducting a symphony. “Nothing grander.”

Mom, however, insisted that my siblings and I remain safe inside. How boring.

Later, back in Indiana, I was a passenger in a car that defied a white sheet of rain stretched across the road. Tree branches ripped, grabbing sparking power lines as they crashed. A chimney exploded.

The driver very appropriately prayed, “Dear Jesus, keep us safe. But if not, please take us to heaven.”

This struck me as unnecessarily pessimistic. In one of my less holy moments, I yelled at the top of my 18-year-old lungs, “Knock it off, Jo. Quit giving me last rites, okay?”

God in His mercy listened to Jo and ignored me.

I later succumbed to Boring Mother Disease during storm season. One spring, my small children and I spent so much time snuggled in our bathtub, they regarded it as a second library, the normal place to read storybooks.

My husband, bone-tired from a 24/7 medical practice, refused to budge from his nice warm bed just because pesky tornadoes suffered from insomnia.

Our next house featured an ancient basement. Hubby still favored Oz during tornado warnings. The kids and I, however, preferred the dungeon to our former cramped porcelain refuge. We added Play-Doh and Yahtzee tournaments to the storm regimen.

Now empty-nesters, Steve and I again live in a one-story ranch. Upon purchase, I assured myself that no storm could hoist my post-middle-age body more than a few feet.

Soon, however, lightning seemingly sizzled around my pillow, and moaning wind and rain drowned my husband’s snores. I craved my former dungeon, but tried to reassure myself.

You’ll laugh about this tomorrow.

The next morning, our ceiling had not moved. Peeking out windows, I saw no branches on the ground — not even many twigs. Why had I been such a nervous Nellie?

Then, opening a newspaper, I noticed a photo of our town’s Little League cement block dugout. A “small” tornado had dissected it.

Back to Bathtub Story Hour for me.

Are you a storm watcher? Or do you run for a basement–or bathtub?

4 thoughts on “A Storm’s the Norm

  1. Angie K.

    I remember that storm – it was rather nasty! It loosened two bits of our siding, as I recall. And it damaged a window screen.
    Fun was had by all. 🙂

    Reply
    1. rachael Post author

      Angie, Thank the Lord that was all the damage you and your family suffered–especially since your house was only blocks away from that nasty tornado incident! Makes us want to park in our bathtubs, doesn’t it? May the Lord grant that we’ll spend this spring counting tulips instead of tornadoes!

      Reply
  2. Sara Hunt

    Early June of last year, our first in Florida, had Henry and me taking seriously the calls from the news media to “prepare for the 2016 hurricane season”. Dutifully we made sure we had our food stock of non-perishables, things like peanut butter crackers, granola bars, fruit cups, and juice boxes. We checked batteries, bought a battery powered lantern, restocked the first aid kit, stashed some cash (ATMs don’t work when there’s no electricity), even made sure we had portable, disposable kitty litter pans and food for Andy B. All that was stored in a plastic bin taking up half the floor space of our utility closet. And we waited….not needed. We dismantled the kit in November. But we will prepare again in June. Everyone in Pensacola remembers Hurricane Ivan, who made his arrival here over a decade ago, and tell us hurricanes are not to be taken lightly.

    Reply
    1. rachael Post author

      Sara, You and Henry are smart, smart people! Funny how the one time I experienced a mere tropical depression in Florida–with a roiling, angry ocean–scared the stuffin’s out of me, whereas I have to make myself get excited about a tornado watch. SO glad you’re looking to prepare for any storms–and hope you’ll get to dismantle your bin in November once more. Blessings and sunshine on your day!

      Reply

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