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The air is so heavy and thick, right now, and my ears pop, from my sinuses or the air pressure, I can't tell which is more annoying. I just know I've had a niggling headache all afternoon and it's getting stronger as the clouds gather on the horizon.
My father loved thunderstorms. He died when i was nine years old but I remember sitting next to him on the porch watching the lightening and hearing the booms in the distance - waiting for the storm to arrive, counting "one- one hundred; two, one hundred; three, one hundred;" after the flash, in order to find out how many miles away the storm was when the boom came. I can almost hear his voice telling me myths and legends of different cultures all about the thunder and the lightening.. all those stories about ancient gods and goddesses, along with the biblical storms and characters from the old testament.
Those childhood storms were always so huge, and I remember curling into him, sitting on his lap and smelling the smell of his clean shirt and the essence of daddy. I was never afraid of the storms, because he told me I didn't have to be. He used to tell me how important it was for the rain to come and water our vegetable garden. He'd tell me how it would clean the dust off the car. He told me that the fish in the creek that ran behind where we lived, LOVED the rain, and for sure there'd be more fish because of that storm.
I know better now. Lightening strikes, and fries power lines and splits trees. Rain comes down so hard the ground can't absorb it sometimes and causes flash floods. The winds can turn nasty and suddenly a twister appears and takes out a trailer park.
We lived in a trailer park all those years ago (50, now!) It was a fun place to be for me, with my parents, an adventure. I knew they wanted a house because they talked a lot about moving, but the houses weren't built yet. A lot of my dads friends were other returning servicemen.
I remember going to the Knights of Columbus hall or the VFW with my dad, and sat quiet as a mouse while he did "dad things" with the other fathers whom I recognized from church and school pot luck dinners.
One Sunday in June, it was so hot, and my dad told my mother after church that it was too hot to cook, and we'd stop at the little deli-grocery store on the way home, and get some BBQ Ribs. My mother rolled her eyes and started to object as I'm sure she was thinking of the laundry mess she'd have to clear up after my dad and I got done eating the ribs. But my dad won because he was driving and stopped at the store to let my mother and I go in and get the ribs.
Lunch was fun and messy and we proved my mother correct. After lunch, my mother scrubbed off the sauce and made me change my t-shirt, then I went outside to play whle she cleaned up, and my dad went to lay down for a nap.
I was going back to my house after playing with a friend, when the neighbor called me over and said that my mom and dad asked for me to stay with them for a while as my dad wasn't feeling good and needed to go to the hospital. I was a little scared but as she was the mother of my then best friend Debbie, I figured it would be OK. (besides they had a television set and I could watch tv inside and get out of the heat.)
I never saw my dad again. I never got a chance to say good-bye or give him a kiss. In 1959 they didn't know about by-pass surgery or pacemakers. So he died at 42.
My mother returned late that night, and I remember we both hugged eachother and cried, each in our own haze of pain.
I know it's not really the case, but in my memories of that horrible June, it seemed there were thunderstorms every day for weeks on end.