Monday, an afternoon storm rolled in. The clouds were shades of grey. Around us, thunder rumbled and the clouds quickly turned to black. The wind was blowing hard, bringing the rain in from the west, bending the trees. A sharp flash of lightning appeared. The anticipation of hearing in crackle never happened: it was unnerving. The hair on my neck prickled because the pause made me believe God was deciding what to do with the electricity. I could not help but think I would be the recipient.
Our children were running up and down the front steps of our house, in and out of the few drops of rain that came down. I called them in to get them out of harm’s way. I thought: when it comes, it will be a very heavy rain. A storm was brewing.
I was reminded of the days when I was a child. I sat on the front porch with my mother and my brothers and sisters, drinking rain water that cascaded off the tin roof. Puddles of water formed near the stilts at the base of the house.
There was a lot of joy to be had watching a storm roll in. It was like admiring the awesome power of God. And yes, there was an element of fear and and being humbled. And when the rain would finally arrive, it beat on the tin roof with a ratta-tat-tat!
The rain would continue pouring from the roof and it continued to make the sound that rain makes when it drips and cascades into more water. And with the rain falling, the wind blowing, the drumming on the tin roof, thunder rumbled.
My mother would have instructed us to set the tubs out in the yard to catch the rain water. My older brothers would have placed all of the galvanized, number 30, tubs by the well.
Porches on some houses in the South were long. It was a good thing they were. The long porch allowed us to stay and “watch God do his work,” as Mama used to say. We wanted to stay there until we were unable to avoid getting wet. We would scoot back, trying to stay dry, every time the wind pushed the rain farther and farther up the porch, until finally our backs were against the wall.
We would resign and go inside the watch the rain stream down the windows. Finally darkness would settle in, we would go to bed, listening to the ratta-tat-tat until we fell asleep