As I sit on my patio, I await the approaching storm. Everything I can control is in readiness with food cooked, water at hand, coffee in the thermos, flashlights with fresh batteries within reach, and phones charged. I’ve talked to my family. The children live hours south where the storm has already passed. I thank God for that.
As I wait for the storm on the patio, I enjoy the unseasonable seventy-nine degrees, even knowing what it means. Rain is is not yet blowing sideways, but it soon will be. I recognized an ominous cracking sound, reminding me of branches that will be coming down. Mother is with me .She always shelters with us during storms. Somethings never change. Even though Mother is ninety-two and frail, I am completely comforted that she is here to protect me.
The lights are flickering. A large branch Just crashed to the ground. I was about to Rush out to get a picture when I caught myself. Maybe I’ll get photos after the storm.
“Sing at the table. Sing in the bed. The boogerman‘ll get you by the hair of the head.”
When I was a small child, I was spending the night with my cousin Sue when an incredible thunderstorm passed through. I welcomed storms, invigorated by the rumble of thunder, the splendor of lightning, and the smell of ozone. Recalling her childhood fear of storms, Mother had always downplayed the noise and drama of storms. We were supposed to be settling into sleep but I was wildly excited by the storm and enlisted my cousins to join me in bed jumping. Aunt Julie was terrified of storms and made no effort to hide her agitation at the combination of the fearsome storm and the banshee bed-jumpers. She did not share Mother’s tender philosophy.
“You little devils shut up and lay down. All that racket is making the the lightning worse. It’s gonna strike you if you don’t settle down and shut up.” One of the little devils got up and jumped on the bed again before the threat left her lips. A mighty crash of thunder rattled the windows promising to come for the miscreant. Kids dived under covers and hid in closets. “See what I told you. If the lightning don’t fit you, the boogerman will!”
I stayed put, even though Mother had often told me there was no boogerman. Aunt Julie looked scary enough on her own to do the trick. Since then, I’ve often wondered why Mother never availed herself of the Boogerman. It seems like she overlooked a valuable child-rearing resource.
Our American Eskimo Dog, Buzzy, is terrified of storms. We had a couple of hours of noisy thunderstorms just now and Buzzy was trembling, hyperventilating, and crying. I couldn’t comfort him. When I got off the sofa for a minute, Buzzy dived for my spot. He wedged in when I got back, refusing to move. He was greatly comforted, blanketed in tightly between Mother and me. He tolerated the rest of the storm quiet well, despite the thunder and lightning. He finally went on to sleep. As you can see, Mother was also terrified by the storm.
Buzzy was mentored in storm terror by Sissy, our dog who was two years older. He wasn’t afraid as a small puppy, but Sissy showed him the ropes. Sissy was well-trained by her predecessor, Bubba. Bubba wasn’t afraid till he stayed with my sister while we were on vacation. Lightning blasted her house and blew a lot of brick off. The sound must have been horrendous! He was terrified forever and made sure to pass it on. Thanks, Buzzy. Your legacy lives on.
A month ago, a friend was putting her bags in her car on the way to the airport out of town for several days in the middle of a torrential rainstorm when she heard the pitiful meows of this tiny kitten. The kitten’s eyes were barely open. It had washed up from somewhere in the storm and lodged in tree roots near her house. It was so tiny and looked so sick, she felt it had no chance of survival, but she sheltered it, wiped it up, wrapped it up in blankets, and put warm milk with a rag for it to suck, a dish of water, and some mushy dog food, hoping its mother would find it. Already late, she meant to ask a friend to check on it. Late the next morning of the next day, by the time she remembered, she was sick at heart, realizing there was no way that tiny kitten survived such brutal conditions. She dreaded coming home, expecting to see its stiff, little body waiting where she left it.
She listened when she came in late from her flight home, hoping against hope she’d hear a tiny meow, though doubting it was possible. Nothing. The next day when she went out, this frisky guy came prancing up to her, having survived several days on the food and water she’d left. Though she hadn’t planned to adopt a kitten, little Noah had earned his home, having survived the flood. Since then Noah has survived two mishaps. Though her dog Izzy loves Noah, Noah startled Izzy in her sleep, and got seriously snapped for her trouble. It happened again about a week later, nearly knocking little Noah senseless for a few minutes, and cutting her eye. Today Noah’s eye opened and she appears to have vision. Izzy is now careful about Noah, apparently not forgetting about her anymore.