Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 20, 2010

Sherry Hopkins

Sherry still loves storms after close call with lightning

It is Monday and for the first time all summer I can actually feel a hint of fall in the air. It is very early and I have been out watering rosebushes. The wind is from the north and the breeze feels cool on my face and bare arms. I close my eyes and pretend it is October.

This is the only tangible signal of autumn and relief from the oppressive heat we have experienced since May.

The water temperature in the pool has been steady at 94 degrees and I told Dear Don I expected a tropical storm to form over the pool at any moment. That wasn’t too far from the truth.

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Last Friday we experienced different weather. The day started out hot and steamy just like every other day this summer. But by late afternoon the bright azure sky gave way to angry black clouds moving swiftly across the atmosphere. The thunder rumbled so deeply that the windows rattled. The storm clouds sent shards of white-hot lightning to the earth and the wind was ferocious.

Finally as if they could no longer contain their rage the dark billows opened up and blessed rain fell in a deluge, washing away the weeks of heat and grime. The temperature dropped from 100 degrees to 79 in mere minutes.

The tempest was beautiful in its anger and I watched with awe at the rapidly changing landscape.

All of nature seemed to come to attention in the cleansing, replenishing rainfall.

But then the beauty of it all changed just as quickly as it had formed. The lightning grew closer, the thunder louder and the wind was now twisting the trees in its savage gale.

I hurried to the kitchen to get my stove on and start supper before we lost power as we surely would.

As I was running a sink of dishwater I felt the hair on my neck rise. In the next instant I saw bright, white light flashing and heard simultaneously crackles of electricity. Then a loud pop. I screamed in fear. I was sure I was being struck by lightning. I screamed out again for Dear Don who was running toward me. After checking me over and assuring me I was okay we began to check the house to see what had been hit.

He went straight to the fuse box and I checked appliances. Everything was fine and I finally took a moment to sit down. My knees were shaky and my heart was pounding. The strike really had scared me “near to death.” I just knew the house was on fire and we were in immediate danger. The storm raged outside for almost an hour.

In the end when we felt safe to venture out the remnants of the wind and rain were everywhere. The yard was full of branches and limbs, as was the swimming pool. In the back the twisting wind had taken a huge limb out of the lovely redbud tree just outside the kitchen window.

What a mess we had on our hands. But we were safe and Don assured me that the house was not on fire and we were secure although still puzzled as to what the lightning had struck.

After we had settled down a bit I picked up the phone to check on my grandson and realized that the phone was dead. The lightning had struck the phone, an easy and inexpensive fix.

I still love storms in all their fury but I have to say that I can do without the lightning next time. This was a little too close for comfort. You get the picture.

(Contact award-winning columnist Sherry Hopkins at