Sunday, August 2, 2015

Memory of a Thunderstorm

My reaction to Florida thunderstorm--August 21, 1993.
Originally from a video.  Sorry about the poor quality.
Ever since I can remember, I have not liked thunderstorms.  No, let me rephrase that.  I have always been petrified of thunderstorms.  When I was a kid, I laid on the couch with my head covered in pillows whenever a thunderstorm came along.  Even with a house full of people all around me!  

My most harrowing experience with a thunderstorm came when we lived in Orlando, Florida in the early 1990s.  Jim and I decided to take a walk at one of our favorite nature centers (Osceola County Schools).  It was near Kissimmee.  There were boardwalks meadering through lush tropical vegetation.  By the time we got there, the clouds in the sky were that bluish grey that always means trouble is coming.  I even heard a rumble of thunder in the distance.  But Jim convinced me we had time for a walk.

Ha!  We got halfway down the path when the heavens open up.  The rain poured down and the thunder was deafening.  I totally panicked.  I wanted to turn around, but Jim said it was too far to walk back to the car.  We'd have to find some sort of shelter where we could wait out the storm.

We came across a covered overlook by a pond.  No sides, just a roof and support beams.  Oh lovely.  And we were right on the water, one of the worst places to be in the thunderstorm.

I sat on a bench there, covering my ears and praying that I wouldn't be hit by lightning, while Jim delighted in taking videos of the storm.  Jim loves thunderstorms.  He finds them fascinating. not.  I find them dangerous and frightening.  Whenever there is even a hint of a storm on the horizon, my heart pounds, I start sweating, I unplug electrical appliances, shut windows, and run for cover.  Well, I couldn't do that out in the middle of the park.  So, I just sat there with my eyes closed and feared the worst.  

The rain pelted the usually serene pond, as the wind howled through the trees, and the thunder reverberated off the roof overhead.  Lightning bolts hit all around us.  I was in hell.  I willed the storm to stop, just stop, but it went on for at least an hour. 

And we survived it.  Ahhh!  Relief!

I got my fear of thunderstorms from my dad.  As he was milking cows in the barn on the family farm as a youngster, the barn was hit by lightning, electrocuting the cow he was tending to at the time.  The cow fell on top of him.  For the rest of his life, my dad was also petrified of thunderstorms.  He was a workaholic, but he would not milk the cows if it was storming.  Everyone stayed safely in the house until the storm blew over.

I've gotten better at dealing with storms over the years.  I still do not like them one bit, but I no longer cover my head with pillows at the first sign of a "thunder boomer."  I go about my business, for the most part, but stay inside.  Jim heads for the windows, and sometimes outside, to check out the sky, the clouds, the wonder of the storm.

Thunderstorms are a part of life during the spring and summer months.  We just have to deal with them.  Don't let them take the fun out of life.  If thunderstorms leave you paralyzed with fear, you might want seek help from a qualified professional to get some relief.  

So, do you love thunderstorms or hate them?  Do you spend time worrying about them or looking forward to them all winter?  Have you ever gotten caught in one?  I'd love to hear about your adventure.     

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