The Storm

Thanksgiving is past. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us. Oh, what a pitiful shame! The holiday season is in full swing. And thus, it seems that across the country, the precipitousness of winter has descended upon us. As I sit here typing this morning, rain from darkened skies pelts my rooftop. The weatherman says it will be warmer today… at least warm enough to drive the snow up the hill a little.  

Stormy days often take me back. On this occasion, I’m taken to two short years after my husband and I were married. My oldest son was just a baby. The wind was blowing strong, it was raining hard. My husband was at work, my baby and I were out and about for some reason. It was a “pretty good” storm we were caught in that early afternoon. The rain made me terribly anxious. On one hand, I didn’t want to be caught in weather like that, driving about not being able to see very well. On the other hand, I was afraid of going home and having to get out of my car and possibly being struck by lightning while holding tight to my little one.

Storms in the South can be vicious. Veins of powerful wonder appear from nowhere and rip across the sky; rumbling thunder makes its way from somewhere off far, the angry grumbling draws closer, and turns to loud explosive bursts. The powerful wind whips the limbs of trees against the side of the house, the rain pounds the rooftops. Anyone from the south has heard tales of those who had been victimized by nature’s fury.

So it was that kind of storm on this particular day in 1986. I steered my little Plymouth Horizon back to the mobile home park where we lived. The rain was pounding my windshield, thunder rumbled. I pulled as close as I could get to the front door, nabbed my baby out his car seat, made a mad dash for the house. I was terrified and so would have been the little guy in my arms had he been old enough to be aware. I crumbled on the floor in our living room, my heart beat hard against my chest. The rain hammered the roof above my head as if it might be mocking my fear, thunder outside exploded. I clutched my baby tight against my breast, refusing to budge, the two of us bonded, each of us comforting the other. I don’t remember any more about the day. I don’t remember how long we stayed that way, crumbled and nestled on the floor. I simply remember being extremely afraid.

Growing up in the South, I was taught to respect the storm. My maternal grandparents lived in an older house. When we visited and there was a storm, we sat in the den, that is all of us except Granddaddy, Granddaddy often was found on the front porch in his rocker, watching the wonder of the storm. The rest of us quietly waited in the center of the house in the den. Often the phone would ding. That meant lightning had struck the line. Sometimes there would be a loud pop in the kitchen. It was a bit scary, being at Granny’s during a storm, but in my heart I hold a lot of precious memories of the mighty Southern storms.

What about you? What stormy memories come to mind when you’re sitting inside on a rainy (or snowy) day? 

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