Posted by Kathy Waller
My letter for today in this April A to Z Challenge is W.
The topic for today is weather.
The topic for today was going to be writer, but while I was working on the post last night, there came a sudden rumbling and crashing and flashing of light, and suddenly there was no topic at all. I ran around the room unplugging cables and cords, and my husband woke and stumbled downstairs to make sure I’d unplugged the right things.
I don’t know how long it lasted–I gave up and went to bed myself before finding out. If I’d been afraid, I’d have sat up until I knew whether I was going to end up in Oz. I don’t like surprises. And I don’t like the idea that I might wake up to find myself standing in the yard wearing just my jammies and lacking the proper underpinnings.
I don’t think the Austin area has been under tornado watch this spring, but Dallas and surrounding areas have been threatened. A niece posted on Facebook one day this week that sirens were going off in Waxahachie.
When I was four, I visited relatives in Dallas just after a tornado had hit. My cousins were laughing about a spot on the news: “Whoops! There goes a house. Whoops! There goes a man!” I didn’t know how they could joke about such a serious matter. I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.
Family lore includes two weather stories that (at least the family thought) are worth repeating.
The first–While reports came in about flooding in a different part of the state, Central Texas was in its usual condition of relative drought. There was talk of meeting at church to pray for rain. Miss Lizzie Dawson told Aunt Bettie that she’d already begun praying: “I said, ‘Lord, we need rain. We need rain real bad. I pray that you’ll send us a good, hard rain. But now, Lord,’ I said, ‘we don’t want what those people up in Baxter got.'”
Well, in matters of weather, it’s always best to be specific.
In the second instance, the MacKenzie boy came in from the barn shouting that a tornado was headed right for the house. Danger being imminent, the family decided the only thing they could do was pray. They knelt in the kitchen and Mr. MacKenzie, considerably rattled, could think of only one thing to say: “For the things we are about to receive, Lord, make us truly thankful.” Then he jumped to his feet and said, “Oh, no! That won’t do.”
The tornado didn’t hit the house, so the MacKenzies were grateful anyway.
We’re always grateful when bad weather detours around us. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods–they’re serious matters. But, as with other sources of grief and suffering, we laugh, perhaps to lighten the hurt, perhaps to blur reality, perhaps to celebrate that in times of trouble, we can still find a reason to laugh.
Two of her short stories, “A Nice Set of Wheels,” and “Hell on Wheels,” appear in Austin Mystery Writers’ new crime fiction anthology, MURDER ON WHEELS, published by Wildside Press.