Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Great Hail Storm of Aught-Six

I wore my pink shoes on Friday, but to no avail.

Until…Saturday morning at 2am. Rain crashed against our bedroom windows, thunder crackled, lightening streaked the sky. And Annie raced under our covers. By 4am we had faded back to sleep. But at 7 we awoke to a new sound hammering our windows. Hail. Pea size pieces of hail had formed a thick white layer in our courtyard. I felt as though I were heaven.

Annie, by contrast, thought she had wound up in hell. Which reminds me of another family member…

Hurricane season in Houston is a time of magnificent thunderstorms, flash floods, downed trees and power lines and unfortunately sometimes much worse. For me these storms are cathartic; they bring a sense of freshness and renewal. It’s as though the world stops for a time, giving us a chance to reflect on our priorities.

During one storm I remember lying in bed, hearing the rain batter my window and the tree branches rustle against the house, closing my eyes and imagining the cool clean water splashing my face. Suddenly I was jolted alert by, “KK! Get in the bathroom!”

Billie Sue doesn’t exactly share my love of a good thunderstorm. To her any amount precipitation, no matter how small, is cause for alarm. When this storm was first predicted Billie Sue started laying in supplies. By the time she called me into the bathroom we had over 350 cans of food and 50 bottles of juice piled across the kitchen counters, in the pantry, above the refrigerator, inside the china cabinet, and anywhere else she could squeeze them. She even bought new metal shelves just for the provisions. Not all of this food was bought for this particular weather crisis; when I perused the cans I saw that many expired years ago.

“Come on, KK. Helen’s already in there.”

“What about King Richard?” I asked.

“Hah! He’s still asleep and said not to bother him,” she utters with exasperation. “If the cancer doesn’t kill him, this storm might! Come on, let’s go.”

And so the three of us spent the next four hours together in a six foot by 3 foot bathroom, while the unflappable King Richard was snuggled warm and peaceful in his bed.

During our southern California hail storm, we did our own form of provisioning. John and I made the futon into a bed in front of our huge living room window so that we wouldn’t miss a drop. We brought out the down comforters and flannel sheets. We surrounded ourselves with books and warm coffee, and we silently prayed for it to last all day.

I think Annie wished she were in the bathroom with Billie Sue.

1 comment:

jen said...

O the picture in my mind's eye...