Friday, May 29, 2009

Rolling Thunder, Lighting Strikes And The Downpour

When I was a kid I loved thunder and lightning storms and when the downpour came it was even better. We used to say that 'God is moving furniture around' whenever the thunder clapped.

My dad grew up in Akron, Ohio and if you haven't experienced rain on east coast you've never truly experienced a storm. OK, maybe Ohio isn't 'east coast', but it's a lot farther east than Oregon and from Ohio to Georgia the rainstorms are pretty ferocious. Yes, I'm speaking from experience because I experienced the same type of storms while living in Virginia and Georgia.

Every few years we would go back to Akron to visit my grandma. 175 Casterton Avenue. It's crazy that I even remember that, but I do. I can remember everything about pulling up to the house, how it looked (painted white with green trim), how it smelled, the old plumbing and heaters, the apartment that grandma rented out and who rented it, and being in my dad's old bedroom that he shared with his brother growing up and wondering if it ever cooled off in the summer on the third story. I also remember the street and how it was lined with huge buckeye trees. And the lightning bugs. We don't have those in Oregon (we'd literally have to light a bug on fire to do that, and I'm not handling a bug long enough to set the things butt on fire.) Us kids would get a mason jar and catch the bugs in the jar then go into a dark room so we could watch them light up.

On this particular visit, when I was seven years old, we went to visit some friends of my parents who had a dairy farm somewhere in the rolling hills of Ohio. My parents had met Lee and Joy when they moved to Oregon and became friends, but circumstances took Lee and Joy back to Ohio.

I had never been on a dairy farm and when we pulled up it was getting close to milking time. The dairy consisted of an old white, two-story farmhouse, acres of green pasture and a milking barn. Lee came out to call the cows (he actually yodeled for them) and pretty soon, the cows came in from over the rolling hills of pasture. For us kids (it was me and two older brothers) it was a huge adventure and while the milking was done with machines, Lee wanted each of us kids to milk a cow the old fashioned way. How hard do you think three non-farming kids can giggle about that?

What I remember most, and what my family still talks about to this day is the storm. Thunder. Lightning. Rain like crazy. I actually remember the smell before the storm. That breeze that blows in a rain smell. I remember the lightning lighting up the old farmhouse bedroom, the white curtains blowing like crazy and my mom coming in to close the windows and check on us kids. I don't remember being afraid, but being in awe of something so powerful, something I'd never experienced before.

In the morning, the sun came up, the breeze was still, Lee yodeled for the cows, and they came over the hill to be milked.

As I sit here and listen to the thunder and feel the breeze blowing the rain smell through the office, I can't help but be taken back to the dairy farm in Ohio...


sherri said...

You took me there too Annie!
Love this memory.

I also love rainstorms and lightening. Glad to know I'm not weird... or I am at least, one of two weird people now.

Thank you.

Billy Coffey said...

Wow Annie, that was great.

I love thunderstorms, and I can see them rolling in over the mountains through the living room window. There's nothing like sitting on the front porch in the middle of a storm, rocking and listening to the rain pouring down. It's the smell, I think. Water and grass. You can't beat that.

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Great picture, Annie! I could see it in my mind.

Growing up in CA, I always thought the movie thunderstorms were just Hollywood exaggeration. I never experienced a big storm actually overhead until choir tour my senior year. We actually got to be in a tropical storm in Charleston. whee!

Amrita said...

Last night we had a huge pre-monsoon rain storm with thunder and lightening. OUr power was off for 14 hours.

katdish said...

I love a good thunderstorm -- especially at the beach. I know that sounds weird, but there's something about sitting out on the balcony and watching the rain and lightning on the ocean. Reminds me of vacations when I was a kid at Virginia Beach.

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