July 18, 2010


Due west the sky is too gray. A shade too dark for a normal day.

Missouri and Illinois are having their share of storms today, and I suspect bad weather will be upon us before the day is out.

We've had extreme heat and humidity for days, the kind that sucks the life out of any living being. During the work day I cannot cool off no matter how much water I drink. At the end of the day I am zapped and tired and ready to lie down. Getting in and out of the car twenty-plus times a day when it is 95 degrees with a heat index over a hundred is not my dream job.

I imagine that I'm a heroine in a William Inge play, angst-ridden and having my brow mopped by a sexy hero. I'm thinking Don Murray in Bus Stop. He takes an ice cube and gently puts it on my face. And then, reality rears its ugly head, and I'm back on my sales route.


Preparing for the work week ahead at home on this hot Sunday afternoon, I needed another fully leaded cuppa joe and headed out to the neighborhood coffee shop. The young lady waiting on me said, "I can't wait for the storm."

I am much warier of storms than I was as a child. The Palm Sunday tornadoes in 1964 rattled my mental cage, and I was finished off by the Xenia, Ohio storms of 1974. My own little village of Anatevka experienced 24 deaths when an F-4 came through our area in November 2005. My family was extremely lucky -- most of our friends were not.

I knew one person who was killed -- she was a nurse and I shudder to think how she met her death.

Our son was camping with a hundred Scouts right in the path of the storm. Leaders monitoring the weather woke the boys up and rushed them into a concrete bathroom as the freight-train sound went over their head, and the tornado dipped down two miles away to take several other lives.

We had no power, and we were one of the lucky ones. Cell towers were down. As dawn approached, my husband and I decided to get in the car and drive the forty miles to the campsite. Just as we were leaving, we saw a familiar truck pop up over the hill. Our neighbor, one of the Scout leaders, was pulling the familiar troop trailer, and bringing home two terrified boys, ages 14 and 15 (our son and hers.)

So when I hear the familiar rumble that comes along with a storm, I am wary and I batten down my mental hatches, bring in the lawn furniture, and head for the basement. Mother Nature usually wins an argument, so it is best to be prepared.

storm photo from publicdomainpictures.net

bus stop photo from wikipedia