Sudden Alarm of Donkeys
"Hold my Hand and Count the Miles"
As a child I was terrified of lightening storms. On the prairies this meant just about every summer evening I would end up huddled under my covers, crying.
And then my grandfather, Gagah, came for a rare summer visit.
I have since learned he was a cantankerous, no-nonsense kind of father but, apparently, grandchildren changed him for the better. I only knew him as a kind, patient man.
Anyway, while he was a visiting a real corker of a storm rolled in. He caught me as I was fighting the dog for the furthest corner under my bed. With the promise of keeping me safe as houses, he took me out to sit with him on the front steps.
Now, girl, how high can you count...past 10? past 20? Good. Now, next time you see lightening we’ll start counting until we hear the thunder.
Look there, 1-2-no a little slower-5-6- that’s it-8-9...ah, hear that? it’s still pretty far away, 9 miles. Now is it coming closer or going further away?
Before I knew it the rain started and the storm was rolling on to the next town. We sat in the cold, fresh evening air, holding hands, in the dark, waiting a little longer just in case there was one last rip in the black velvet sky. Finally mom poked her head out the door and it was time for me to go to bed.
Now, I can’t wait for lightening season to start. Electric storms are regrettably rare here on the west coast. At the first distant rumble I hurry out to the steps to watch the precious show roll in over the water.
I must have counted at least a million miles since Gagah’s summer visit but whenever the storms begin, he is right there beside me.