03 September 2009

Misty, Muddy-Colored Memories

It's nighttime. Almost eleven nighttime, and I'm at the folks', using their computer and their internet. Daddy got called out a few minutes ago; probably something went wrong somewhere due to the storm.

Sidenote: how I LOVE thunderstorms! Except when Daddy gets called out to work, of course.

Him leaving in the middle of the night to tend to the phones because of stormy weather reminds me of a time when I was very little, barely old enough to see over my grandparents' kitchen table, when there were storms boiling all around us.

There was lightning. There was thunder. There was sideways rain. There was wind strong enough to dry you right off, even as you got rained upon....

Daddy got called out that night, too. Mama said that we (my sister, her, and me) were going down the road to my grandparents' house for the duration. By the time we got there, all of the electricity was out. There was a huge kerosene lantern sitting in the middle of their little kitchen table, and that was it. The only other thing lighting up the rest of the little farmhouse (which Brady and I will soon call home....) was the crackling lightning outside, trying to crawl in around the edges of the windows.

We sat at the kitchen table for hours that night, listening to the storm roar around us, never once letting up. We played games together, like Rook and Mill. I'm pretty sure Grandma won most of the Mill games.

We also talked, and Grandpa did everything in his power to scare us. Boy, did he ever love to tell us tall tales or ghost stories that would have us frozen in our beds at night for weeks on end.... Our knees would knock, our skin would go from the usual white to transparent, and we'd pretend that little tears of fear weren't dribbling down our cheeks. And he would laugh, laugh, LAUGH! Oh, how he would laugh at himself, telling those stories...or at us, believing him and getting scared witless.

Towards the end of the night, as the storm slowly started to hush its way down, we started wondering if maybe Daddy would be coming home soon. Should we go on home and be there when he came in, or should we stay here for the rest of the night?

Before anyone could make a decision one way or the other, the back door came creaking open in the pitch black dark, and this tall man in a cowboy hat and a bright, yellow, soaking wet slicker came striding down the narrow tunnel of a hallway. It seemed that he and the yellow would barely fit.

He came in so unexpectedly from the dark...it's a wonder my sister and I didn't totally lose our heads.

It was shortly after this that I decided to end the night with a bang by touching my flimsy little hand to the globe of the kerosene lantern.




If I sit here long enough and quietly enough, I can feel the pain all over again. Y'all, that hurt. My hand was singed and red and throbbing, and then, it turned white from the heat. Oh the crying that ensued. I was certain I would be palmless for the rest of my days. But no worries...I sit here typing with two palms fully in tact, and despite it all, a really passionate love for thunderstorms and bad weather of all sorts.

And men in yellow slickers and cowboy hats, because that's a picture of safety and security for me. Not to mention working telephone lines....


  1. for some reason after reading this story the ol' song "Wichita Lineman" comes to mind...

  2. Anonymous2/07/2010

    I missed this one somehow...I remember that night a little I think...I miss that house, and y'all, and being little and pale...oh, wait...I'm still pale...nevermind ;)