When I was a little child, I’m sure I was afraid of thunder storms. But when I was a grown up and a Mommy, I learned that if Mommy is scared, so are her little ones, and if Mommy screams, so do they. As a mother of eight children, I never looked scared.
Early one night a storm blew in. Bill looked out the window and headed for the basement to find the lantern. He was sure we would lose the electricity. As I began closing windows, I saw a blur of rain and bight flashes of a weird blue-white light. That was not normal. I yelled at the kids to get to the basement.
I closed all the windows except the one over the kitchen sink. With the 1 year old in one arm, I couldn’t get that window closed, but as I looked out that blue-white light was a fearsome sight. Only because I didn’t want the baby frightened, I ran for the basement faster than the kids had.
We were all safe in the basement with the lantern on when we heard the dog whining upstairs. The oldest boy yelled, “I gotta get Blackie!” He bounded up the steps and since I was the closest to him, I flew up on his heels. We were both tugging at our big black Labrador, trying to get him to the basement, when we noticed the storm was over.
Bill came up the steps with the lantern, closely followed by the other seven kids. The first thing we noticed was that the kitchen was flooded from just one little open window. You haven’t lived until you try to mop up a kitchen by lantern light while eight kids are clustered around the lantern.
The next thing we learned was that the weird blue-white light was the result of the power lines out back breaking and whipping in the wind. What vegetables still in the garden that the broken lines didn’t fry, the line crews stomped repairing the lines. That was OK with me. I would have helped them stomp on the plants if it would have restored the power sooner. Fortunately, that was the worst damage of the storm.
During the four hours we were without electricity we learned many useful things.
First of all, it was easier to contend with the kids if we sat out on the front porch because we could turn the lantern off and bask in the lights from passing cars. Then changing the baby’s diapers by the lights of passing cars while I was sitting on a moving swing was an interesting experience. That was in the old days when you used big safety pins to fasten the diaper.
Initially entertaining the children was easy. There were fire trucks and police cars wailing by and neighbors stopping by to compare notes on the storm. There were the races when the little ones would fall asleep and Daddy would take them up to bed, and they would wake up and beat him back down the steps.
After a while, the excitement died down, and we began to tell them stories about ornery things we did when we were kids. To this day they remember every one of those stories, but they forgot all about that storm.
A few weeks ago one of the grandchildren was here for an overnight. We shared some goodies as we played some games, talked, and watched television. We wore Grandpa out, and he went to bed.
We were watching the old sitcoms on NIK when the telephone rang. It was our granddaughter’s mother, concerned about her 10 year old because the television said we had a terrible storm blowing in. Surprised us. We hadn’t even heard the wind or the thunder.
We changed channels and watched he weather reports. It sounded bad, so we turned on the scanner, and it sounded even worse. When they reported winds on Eidson road at 60 mph, we decided to wake Grandpa up. He said, “OK,” and rolled over and went back to sleep. We decided to go back downstairs and let him blow away.
Should we go to the basement? No. We decided to sit in comfortable chairs away from the windows, and we talked about storms, and fears, and lots of other things, and when the storm was over we went to bed.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate June 30, 2004.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.