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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming To Bring You This Severe (St. Patsy) Weather Alert...Whether You Need It Or Not

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has been an alarmist about The Weather. As soon as skies would darken with storm clouds, she'd start scanning the horizon for low-lying, purple-black ones and a well-defined, heavy cloud deck. She'd peer out the windows, sometimes even venturing out on the porch to check the skies for lightning and to listen for that telltale "freight train sound" that foretold the one Terror Above All Else, a Tornado. In the days before The Weather Channel, the Internet, and even before network meteorologists broke into regular programming to report a simple summer storm, my mother's own Weather Alert System was often in overdrive as she looked for signs of Apocalyptic Weather Events.

Her precautions were many and legend, and we had no choice but to follow them: Don't talk on the phone during a storm! Don't take a bath when there's lightning! Get your hands out of the dishwater--there's lightning out! Turn off the TV; can't you see it's storming out? Every one of you kids get in here now; I saw lightning and it's coming this way! I don't like the look of those dark clouds over there; I think we'd better get down the basement. The weatherman says to take shelter; let's go down the basement right now.

And lest you all forget: I did not grow up in Oklahoma, Kansas, or Nebraska. I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, where, yes, there was actually a tornado in my hometown in 1924 (and, ironically, the Lorain Tornado was my father's nickname when he was a professional pitcher many years later), but my mother's fears still seem excessive. Especially since she grew up in Ohio, too.

Things have not changed much, as I found out not too long ago.

Scene opens on Rick and Nance at the lakehouse. They are chatting, finishing up dinner and talking about heading out for a boat ride. Nance's phone chimes, indicating a text message.

Nance: It's Mom. (reads aloud) Bad weather in your area. Watch out! Stay off the boat!!! That last sentence had three exclamation points. (looks outside at the calm lake and cloudless sky) Wow. I'm confused.

Rick: I'll put on the local radar channel. Maybe something is headed this way.

Nance: (types back) Really? It's nice here right now. Nothing threatening that I can see.

Rick: The radar is absolutely clear. I don't know where she's getting this. I'm confused.

Nance: Well, she says (reads aloud) They have tornado warnings for the Mansfield area and a tornado watch for Wayne and Ashland Counties, so you are in the area! Watch the sky! Stay off the boat!!!! That last one had FOUR exclamation points. And no emojis. She is really exercised about this. Let me bring up my app. (brings up weather app as Rick sits, exasperated, in front of television radar, still seeing nothing) I don't see it, either! What the heck is going on? This is like a Twilight Zone moment.

Rick: I'm getting the boat ready.

Nance: (types) Ok. We have the TV on and have not seen that. I just checked my iPad weather app and didn't see it there, either. You have the scoop, I guess. (to Rick) I can bring down my own wineglass and water bottle if you can carry the wine and your glass.

(Nance grabs a bottle of water out of the fridge; she checks to make sure the cats have water. She grabs her phone, wineglass, water, and heads down to the dock. Once on the boat, her phone chimes with a text message.)

Nance: (reads aloud) I am sorry. We were watching the soaps recorded from yesterday and that was the weather for yesterday! I just realized that!! Sorry!!!! (laughing hard) I'm not even going to tell you how many emojis and exclamation points are on all of that. Oh, brother. That's so great.

Rick: (laughs, shakes his head)  Doll. That may be her best one yet.

Nance: Wait. One more message. (reads aloud) Senior moment!!

Finis.



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25 comments:

  1. Hahaha! I love your mother. And we were told all those same things when we were children. In fact, I still have to stop myself from ending a phone call when it's storming (Dana! You're on your cell phone! It will not cause you to be hit by lightening!).

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    1. Bug--Yeah, I do too. It looks like all of us of A Certain Age were told those things. I'm willing to bet that The National Weather Service did a bigass bunch of research and released a whole lot of info at once and scared the hell out of Moms In The Sixties, mainly about Lightning.

      Now that I've bothered to research it (quickly) myself (and thus vindicating my mother), I'm a little freaked out myself. If you all want to be a little more like her, read this.

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  2. Probably one of the best St. Patsy stories ever! Thank you for sharing it, Nance. My mom is like that on a sunny day. Actual "weather" really puts her over the edge.

    Hoping to send you an email to catch up later this evening.
    Shirley

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    1. Shirley--Oh, glad you liked it. Looking forward to hearing from you any old time.

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  3. I still refuse to shower during a thunderstorm...

    Love your mom!

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    1. Elle Clancy--You know, I just looked this up, and it's actually a thing. Mythbusters took it on since it was such a highly promulgated piece of advice, even being an adage from the National Weather Service. The odds are, of course, low, but it does happen.

      I still don't buy her old "cows lie down before it rains" theory, though.

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  4. What a funny ending. All your mom's legends and precautions are ones my mom shared. To this day, I won't take a shower during a thunderstorm or be in or on the water when a storm is coming.

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    1. Jean R--Where the heck did our moms get all this stuff? I swear, if I knew my mom would actually answer the phone, I would call her during storms just to tell her I was getting in the shower. LOL.

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  5. My mother was the same way, but was particularly obsessed with snow and ice. Every time there was even a chance of snow in an adjoining town, she would warn us to stay inside and especially to not drive. And even now, when I hear that it might snow, I think to myself, "Whew! Glad I don't have to go anywhere in the car." And except for a few exceptions, it either doesn't snow at all, or there will be the ever-popular "dusting" ...

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    1. Bridget--Oh yes. St Patsy, who now is not driving, often offers to reschedule her doctor's appointments if it is snowy or They Are Calling For Weather so that I won't have to Drive In It. Like you, I often look outside on wintry days and think, "Do I have to go anywhere today?" But to be honest, I simply detest snow and winter; it's not a learned response because of my mom.

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  6. Gotta love your mother. Z-D's parents in NEO are the same way. They call us to tell us that the Weather Channel has suggested that we might have a storm next week. ARE WE PREPARED, they ask? We always say YES! And then go about our lives as usual. I don't know what it is with the 80-somethings, but they all seem to glom onto bad weather forecasts.

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    1. Ally Bean--ALWAYS PREPARED HERE! I really do wonder if weather forecasting and meteorology in general made big strides in the 50s/early 60s. That would account for our moms and dads being so much alike in their overarching concern and interest in all that stuff.

      I believe NEO is getting thunderstorms this afternoon. We need the rain terribly, but I will be Watching the sky!!!

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  7. Such a great story! Love it. And, I too am one of those who won't shower during a thunder storm. I will, however, sit on the (covered) patio with a glass of wine and watch the storm.

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    1. Vera--DON'T YOU KNOW THAT LIGHTNING CAN JUMP TO THE WINE IN YOUR GLASS AND ELECTROCUTE YOUR FACE?

      As I am typing this, I hear distant thunder from an approaching thunderstorm. I know I should get off the computer and make sure there are no severe weather alerts for my area.

      It's been a long time since I watched a storm roll in from the porch. That sounds like such a good idea,

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  8. Awwww, we don't really have thunderstorms here. The big thing there were always warnings about when I was a kid was the smog levels in the LA Basin, which is only tangentially related to weather.

    My mom does not text, for which I am grateful. She doesn't ever answer her cell phone, either. I'm not sure why she has one.

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    1. Gina--Oh, you and your Charmed Weather Life over/down there in LA. Bless your heart. Did I ever tell you how much I want a palm tree for my yard? No lie.

      Growing up, we did not have smog, but living so close to the steel mill, we often awoke to orange dust covering our homes, cars, and basically our lives every once in a while until the EPA put a stop to that and US Steel installed electrostatic "scrubbers" to (I think) the blast furnaces. Iron oxide, maybe? Probably why none of us was ever anaemic.

      My mother is an avid texter via her iPad, which was my idea for a gift several years ago. A fact which my brother OFTEN points out to me.

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  9. Funny story! My Mom always looked at the trees -- said the leaves were curling up so meant it was gonna rain. Think this was one of many things she learned growing up on a farm in Northeast Ohio during horse & buggy days long before weather reports like we get. Northeast Ohio -- dangerous neck of the woods -- still remember the story my Aunt told of tornado roaring past her house sounding like a freight train til dead quiet in the eye of storm -- but twisted her garage door in her little village east of Yoingstown. My Dtr in VA did have lightening come in on a line zapping her phone line a decade or so ago though fortunately she wasn't using it. Having seen the damage she's not anxious to stay on the phone. Says whenever news of a winter snow coming -- and it's never what we had in Ohio, but their city doesn't have equipment to deal with it -- everybody rushes to store buying up all the bread, eggs and milk. We've got weather reports coming out our ears now.

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    1. joared--My mother also looks at the trees, and so do I now. If the maples "blow silver", it means oncoming rain. What are we, 18th century Native Americans? Sigh.

      Yes, winter storms in the south are especially treacherous due to a lack of things we here in NEO have in abundance: road salt, plows, etc. But I'm wondering why, now that these storms track there more frequently (CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL!), they don't start preparing for at least one or two nasties a season.

      And...Winter Storm Regular here--I really don't serve bread, eggs, or milk during storms.

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    2. I agree -- as often as my Dtr has recounted these weather panics residents have, I'd think they'd get some equipment - instead if it really happens they're paralyzed. When I think of the depth of snow I walked through in central Ohio to catch a school bus.a half mile at the end of our road, but my granddtrs school closed with just a foot or so, sometimes less, of snow. We Buckeyes are a hardy lot!

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  10. I needed a laugh today and you sure provided it Nance. Thank you.

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  11. Your mother is a classic. Love the story. She would have got on very well with JG's grandmother, who always expected balls of lightening to roll into the house. She figured pulling all the drapes would make this less likely. Um?
    Weather has never scared me and so I have not passed these foibles down, as far as I know. I guess I should check with the offspring.

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    1. Mary G--Mom was convinced that our house harbored many conveyances of lightning. There was a telephone pole directly across the street from us, which I'm sure distressed her a great deal.

      I think most of her four children escaped her Weather Phobia for the most part. She wore us out. LOL.

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    2. Some of this may be left over from farming days, cause my Mom stressed her father's family farm and others definitely had lightning rods on the top of barns, etc. She recalled instances of barns -- probably full of hay in their mows -- going up in fames when struck by lightning because farmers had been careless protecting them -- this was Andover area.

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    3. Joared, JG's grandmother was urban. Born and raised in southern England. But my maternal grandparents farmed and had some strange ideas about lightening. Ut Grandpa had a multitude of lightening rods on the barn and outbuildings.

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