Friday, December 3, 2010

Part Three: Thunder and Lighting

This tale takes place a few years before Eric “jumped” from the tree but once again, my little brother takes center stage in this story.  Before I continue, I just want to say that this blog is by no means a way for me to pick on Eric (That’s just a bonus hee hee).  Now!   On to the story.

Warning:  This story contains a geography lesson.  Try to stay awake for one paragraph.

When Eric was 4 or 5 years old, my family lived in a small town called Crossville which sits on top of the Cumberland Plateau and overlooks the Tennessee Valley.  The reason I mention the location is because when tornadoes and other bad storms head east from Nashville, they have a hard time getting over the Cumberland Mountains and usually wear themselves out before they reach the valley.  Since Crossville is on the Plateau, it tends to get hit by some of these storms every now and then.

It was a dark and stormy night (Classic scary story start but good lead in).  Come to think of it, I don’t think it was night.  More like mid-afternoon but there was a pretty severe thunderstorm banging on the doors, windows, floors…you get the picture, it was loud.  Donna, Eric, and I were all huddled close together in the Living Room playing, talking, and acting like siblings (that means fighting).  The TV was on when the dreaded beeps occurred.  What beeps you ask?  This was the early 80’s, before the Internet and Doppler radar.  Back then, the only warning whenever a severe thunderstorm or tornado was in the area was when the television or radio would interrupt programs with 3 loud Emergency Broadcast System beeps, and then you would get information on what was happening.  In our case that day, it was a tornado warning for Cumberland County which included the town of Crossville.  Yep, tornado right over our heads.

Before you grab your ruby slippers and scream for Auntie Em.  When I say tornado, I am not talking about a huge F5 tornado like they have in Kansas that rips through the town shredding it like cheese in a grater.  Most of our tornadoes are small F1s that knock down trees, power lines, and blow tiles off your roof.  They are scary, but rarely devastating.  However, hearing about such a rare severe storm made our three imaginations run wild with ideas about what could happen.

“What if we see a car flying by?”

“Wouldn’t it be neat to fly in the middle of a tornado?”

These are just some of the things that go through a child’s head when they are not used to being in tornadoes.  Eric however, had a more intelligent thought in mind.  “Wouldn’t it be great if the lights went out?”  Someone was listening.  As soon as he said that, a huge bolt of lightning struck nearby and created a blackout in our neighborhood.

I believe that some of the World’s greatest comical moments come from when a person has one of those days where they do not think before they speak.  My mother was having one of those days.  She had been sitting on the couch watching her Soap Operas when Eric made his wish and the lights went out.  She looked up angrily and said, “Oh very cute Eric!”  I still think she blames him for missing her Soaps that day.

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