Tuesday, May 18, 2010


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You know it has been raining hard when the perky lilac cascades like wisteria

It rained really hard last night. Thunderstorms - our first of the year - just dumped on us. Thunderstorms are always a mixed blessing for me; I know how desperately we need the rain but they scare the bojangles out of me. I was never bothered by them when I lived on the west side of the state but out here they shake me up. You can see so far in this country that lighting flashes that are twenty miles away feel like they are "just over that hill". I was out checking on the chicks in the sunroom last night when a red flash lit up the sky across the ditch from the Long House and the thunder boomed instantly, shaking the whole house, rattling windows and sending poor Zoe, who was cowering on the porch, streaking across the yard.

Storms are one of the few times that I really reflect on how isolated we are out here. Bev has me worried about working at the sink during storms, something about how it isn't grounded or maybe it is grounded and that is where the electricity will be channeled during a strike. I can't remember but I do know I hurry my business at the kitchen sink and move away. It is unlikely that a strike will hit the house but it has happened before.

When the kids (Chuck Jr, Teresa and Lloyd) were young there was a rip snorter of a storm come down the canyon. Here's the story as Teresa tells it:

Mom used to always tells us, "Don’t you kids ever play with matches because we don’t have any fire department out here." So one of our biggest fears growing up was that the house would burn down. When a fire came through in the thirties they managed to save the barn but the house burnt clear to the ground.

I must have been five or six when this really big thunderstorm rolled through. The thunder was constant and the lightning hit a few trees nearby and split them clear down the middle. We were all so scared and dad was down working in the shop so mom hurried us down to the shop with dad.

When the storm had passed, we all came back to the house together and when we opened the door the whole house was full of thick black smoke. We used to keep an orange light upstairs so the bugs wouldn’t collect around it in the summer so when mom looked upstairs and saw the whole upstairs glowing orange she thought the house was on fire.

"I was hysterical, I mean I totally lost it and mom took my hand and made me hold on to the doorknob in the kitchen and she told me, "Now you’re not helping us out here so you just stand here and get it together. We won’t leave you behind, I promise".

Turns out the whole house wasn't on fire. Lighting had struck the tall chimney on our little trash burning stove in the kitchen that used to sit to the right of the range where the butcherblock is today. It wasn’t actively burning but was still smoldering in the wall.

Obviously, they got the fire put out and the house is still standing, but stories like this can still rattle the nerves as the thunder crackles overhead. I am always grateful to not be alone during storms and was very glad that Lloyd and Nathan got home just before the storm blew through. Lloyd is such a calming force to be around; he is unfazed by the commotion and cheerily exclaims, "a real hum-dinger this one" and toodles around sweeping the walkways (the rain helps rinse the dust and debris away) and I go back to feeling silly for startling at each crackle of lighting.


Jarom said...

That's a great story!

I can see Lloyd turn to me and with his grin say that. It made me snort while taking a drink of water (none came out of my nose, sorry).

The bush looks great... now only to get some bees out there to work it......

Rachel said...

I love thunderstorms. Wish we could have been there to see it. One of the things I miss about Texas.

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