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Kountry Life Memories

As a child, I found storms absolutely terrifying. When I was maybe 7 years old, we lived way out in the country, in west TX, and we had some howling storms! The old farm house we lived in wasn't very sturdy, I guess, and soon as the sky turned stormy, Daddy filled up the kerosene lantern and stood storm watch.

I'd hope against hope that we'd not have to go to the storm cellar, for I was claustophobic, and just about as scared of the cellar as of the lightening. But truthfully, I'm not sure if it was the close confines of the cellar, or the fact that it was just an earthen cellar, and there were little holes in the walls, and sometimes we thought we saw shiny eyes peeking at us.. never sure if it were spiders, mice, snakes, or worse! Anyway, one night, Daddy woke us from a sound sleep and said to hurry, a storm was upon us, and we had to get to the cellar! I didn't actually awaken, is my guess, as I was led to the cellar, and daddy told my older sister to take my hand and see that I got inside the cellar.

Well, next thing I knew, thunder was booming, lightening was crashing, hail was coming down in buckets, and I was smack dab in the middle of it! At first, I thought it might be a nightmare, but the hail hitting me all over was too painful to be a dream.. and I knew I was somehow lost in the dark.

Terrified, screaming and crying, holding my arms over my head.. and trying to locate the house. Lightening flashed and I saw what I thought was the house, and ran toward it only to find it was the barn. I didn't go inside with the cows, for I was afraid of the dark barn at night.

I turned and started running again. Saw a building in a flash of lightening... but not the house, I realized when I got inside.. by the smell it had to be the chicken house, and I'd riled up the chickens!

In my wanderings, I visited the barn twice, and the chicken house and outdoor privvy once; never was I facing the right direction to spot the house when lightening flashed. I was far too frightened to figure out where it was in relation to the other buildings.

Seemed forever I was out there, wandering. The hail finally stopped but I still had the cold rain to contend with, while the noise and flashing in the sky continued.

Suddenly I heard my Daddy call my name and turned and saw the lantern light coming my way. I ran to meet him and he hugged me and took me into the house through the back door. I soon learned the front porch and much of the roof had been ripped away and deposited across the fence in the edge of the pasture.

As it turned out, my sister was as scared as I was. She'd turned my hand loose at the cellar door and ran down the steps ahead of me. I somehow turned and went sleepwalking off past the house, & no one noticed until the storm was just about over.

There was a passel of us kids, and we always piled onto a pallet like a nest of puppies when we went to the cellar at night. In the dim light, it was hard to have an accounting of kids.

Next day, we found that much of the barn was gone, the chicken house had totally disappeared, as well as the outhouse. I'd visited them all, during the storm. Somebody up there was surely watching out for me!

Jfb, from TX, entered 2004-07-24

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