Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
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Online Since 1999
||Mamma & Thunderstorms...
Mamma and the Thunderstorms
Mamma was afraid of thunderstorms. While a normal amount of
apprehension during severe weather is understandable, mamma was afraid beyond anything
close to reasonable.
We had an unusual number of storms when I was a child. I don't know if
there were actually more storms then, or if the storms were such memorable
events that they were vividly impressed in my memory. I suspect the latter.
Thunderstorms usually happened in the late afternoon, after the heat
of the day had built up. When the rain was coming and the sky became
dark, we were called inside to wait until the storm had passed. All
the appliances had to be unplugged so the lightening would not run in
on them. Everything was unplugged except the refrigerator, which was
only unplugged if the storm was a really bad one.
We could not touch anything metal like a pair of scissors during a
storm because metal conducted electricity. We could not, of course,
take a bath or touch a water faucet because plumbing pipes conducted
electricity. We could not talk on the phone, watch TV, or play the
record player. I can't remember if we were allowed to go to the
bathroom, but I doubt it.
We could not play with the cat, because cats draw electricity. Mamma
had pretty rigid ideas about storms and didn't worry about the
difference between lightning and static electricity.
Sometimes mamma would take us to a neighbor's house when a storm was
coming. I don't know why the neighbor's house was any safer than ours.
Maybe there was safety in numbers, or maybe it was because the
neighbor didn't panic at every crash of thunder and the socializing
helped take mamma's mind off the storm.
When we were at home during a storm, mamma would pull the shades so
she couldn't see the lightning. I don't think window shades provided
much protection, especially since they could not keep out the thunder.
Mother would not cook or do any work until the storm was over. The
kitchen was full of dangerous things, like appliances, plumbing, and
Storms that came at night were especially frightening. First of all,
you couldn't see them coming and didn't know it was storming until the
thunder, or mamma, woke you up. The lightning was even brighter at
night. Mamma made everyone get up and put clothes on or at least put
on a bathrobe. I think the idea was that if the house was struck by lightning, we could run
outside without the neighbors seeing us in pajamas.
If it was an especially bad storm, the electricity might go out for a
while. I don't know why we didn't just stay in bed and sleep instead
of sitting up by candlelight.
One time the lightning did actually strike a transformer on the pole
at the corner. Fortunately, the power surge only blew out the fuses
instead of the refrigerator. This proved mamma's theory, however, that
we were all going to be electrocuted by a storm one day.
One friend of mamma was even more frightened of storms than she was
and would sometimes come to stay with us if a storm came up. I don't
know why she came to mamma for comfort. Maybe she just felt better
knowing someone else was afraid. She would cry and cover her head with
a pillow, saying that feathers repelled electricity. After my mother
found out about feathers, she sometimes covered her head too.
I guess the feathers worked as mamma was never electrocuted. The house
was never struck by lightning and neither was the cat. I don't know if
the milk spoiled while the refrigerator was unplugged. As for me, I
probably would not have grown up at all if it hadn't been for mamma
looking out for me and keeping me out of harm's way.
At least, that is what mamma would say.
Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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