Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I've seen flowers and I've seen rain

We had a lovely thunderstorm today and my DS-7 was petrified. I tried to cheer him up, but I remember lightning storms that had me flat on my belly in the living room with my other siblings, so I can’t say I am the best voice of reason when it comes to lightening.
Lightening really doesn’t scare me much anymore. It’s hard to get too spooked when I’m tucked away in my basement playing with paper and my sewing machine.
But as a kid on the ranch, it was a completely different story. We respected thunderstorms for many reasons, not the least of which was my Father and Grandfather were usually out in them either atop a horse or driving haying equipment around an open field.
Both of those situations made them prime targets for lightning strikes.
I have several very distinct memories of lightning storms. The first was more a story than a memory. When I was very young lightning struck and killed a horse in the pasture behind our house. I have a vague memory of my father calling someone to dispose of the body, and I seem to remember people in the pasture, while everyone talked in hushed tones, but not much else. But the event did stay with me.
Thunderstorms often rolled through the ranch at night and woke me from a dead sleep. During one storm I kept calling for “Mom” and when she would give me a sleep answer I asked “Are you awake?” She answered yes and I was comforted for a moment until the next flash when I called for her again.
Eventually she stopped answering me, then I started trying to figure out the trajectory of lightening should it manage to go through one of the windows. I mentally figured out where all the windows were and scrunched down in the bed to avoid them.
Another strong lightening memory was when I was older. This time it was during the day and Mom and Dad were gone for some reason, but I was in the house with my older sisters.
I was in my bedroom reading a book, (we read a lot, there was no televising) when I saw a flash, heard what sounded like someone hitting the kitchen table with a yardstick, and a clap of thunder that shook the house. Then I smelled ozone. You know the lightening is close when you can hear it.
My sisters gathered the children in the living room and we all spread ourselves prone on the floor, avoiding anything metal, and prayed. After the storm passed and my parents returned we discovered the lighting had hit the transformer on a pole just a few feet from the house.
So yes, I respect lightening. And I still unconsciously count one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, every time I see a flash until I hear the thunder. I was taught as a child that this was the way to determine how far the storm was from your location.
But if you don’t feel like counting, be warned if you hear the clap the same time you see the flash, duck and cover.

2 comments:

Wyo sis said...

I vividly remember the horse getting struck in the field. It was very frightening. I don't rememver the other incident. I must have blocked it out. It isn't a bad thing to be scared of, it's like paranoia if people are really out to get you paranoia is just good sense.

Big Sis said...

I renember the horse incedent also. It was really scary. But not the first incident. I remember the time it hit the telephone line and put out the phone. The phone had a little black box on the outside of the house. and it was hit. I also remember more than one time when mom would make one of us, usually me, run out side and turn off the electricty to the house. the box was located on a pole outside the house. I was terrified. I still want to take a dive every time it thunders and lightings!!!!