It stormed last night and storms always remind me of two people; my Aunt Sarah and a friend’s grandmother, Ga Ga. You see, both of these women were scared to death of storms. My Aunt Sarah lived right behind my dad, and my other aunt and uncle lived right beside Dad. Every time a black cloud would come up, Aunt Sarah would go to someone’s house and wait until the rain had passed. It was late one night and I had just started working day shift when I heard thunder. I think is was about 10:00 and I heard a knock on the door. When I turned the outside light on, I saw it was Aunt Sarah. She had this panic look on her face and wanted to know if she could come in. Of course I let her in. I asked her what was wrong and she told me there were thunder storm warnings out and she didn’t want to be alone. So we sat on the couch and watched television. Time passed by and I was so tired and knew I had to get up early so I asked her to spend the night, but, no, she didn’t want to do that. So…more time passed by and every time I thought it might stop raining, it would start raining harder. By this time I was getting really tired and still trying to convince her to either spend the night or go to home. Finally at 2:00 the rain stopped and she went home. I was so tired the next day, but managed to make it a full day at work. I still can’t believe she was that scared of storms and every time she thought it was going to storm, she left home.
Ga Ga was also scared of storms. She had a big house with a basement, so every time we had storms, she would call and try to get me to come to her house and get in the basement. I did this a couple of times, but it got old real quick. I had a little cocker spaniel named Doolittle, and, of course, I would have to drag her out in the rain and drive all the way across town to Ga Ga’s house. Then after the storm was over, drive all the way home again. And it stormed at least once a week. I finally convinced her that unless it was a tornado I would be okay at home. So, I quit going every time it stormed, but she would always call afterwards to make sure I was okay.
One night about seven o’clock my telephone rang. It was Ga Ga and she was crying and screaming, “Get out of that house! Get out of that house right now. There’s a tornado headed directly your way!” Well this scared the shit out of me and I hung up the phone and ran around in circles trying to figure out what to do. I grabbed Doolittle, a bud lite and I stuffed my cigarettes in my pocket and ran out the back door. As soon as I stepped onto the deck, all hell broke loose and the rain came down in sheets. About the time I took off running the television antenna blew over and I tripped over it and about broke my leg. I hit so hard that Doolitte went flying in the air about four feet and when I was trying to catch her on her way down, I dropped my bud lite. I caught Doolittle two handed and tucked her under my arm like a football and I ran like hell. It was raining so hard I could barely see where I was going. The wind was blowing me all over the yard and blowing my hair all over my face. The rain was washing the hair spray out of my hair and into my eyes. Finally, I saw a light in the distance and knew it was Dad’s porch light. So with my hair in my face and my eyes burning from the hairspray, Doolittle and I made it to Dad’s back porch. The wind was blowing so hard and rain was coming down in an almost horizontal direction. When I opened the back door, the wind about ripped it off its hinges and the rain poured on to Dad’s kitchen floor.
Dad was standing at the stove cooking his supper and it was obivious that he was startled. It took him awhile before he realized who I was. I handed him Doolittle and I forced the back door shut. My heart was racing and I was out of breath and Doolittle was shaking all over. Dad was pretty wet too from holding Doolittle. Dad says, “What are you doing out in this rain? Don’t you know we have tornado warnings?” I told him Ga Ga had called and told me to get out of my house, so I did. I was dripping all over the kitchen and I told Dad I had to get these wet cloths off. So he let me borrow, a shirt, a pair of pants and, yes, even a pair of underwear. Oh yes, and a belt to hold up the pants. Thankfully, he had some underwear still in the package from when he bought them. I dried Doolittle off the best I could with a couple of towels and started mopping up the kitchen floor.
It took me about an hour to get us all dried off and all the water off the floor. Dad just sat in his chair and watched. When I was finished, Dad offered me a bud lite and we sat at the kitchen table and I drank my bud lite and he drank his Miller and we talked. That night I came to the conclusion that if I’m going to die, then I’m just gonna die and I would never, ever, go out in a storm like that again no matter who called. Dad told this story over and over to everyone he saw, and I never lived it down.