The sky is as black as the coal beneath our mountains.
Stormy weather is coming through this morning, with watches and warnings all around us.
This makes me think of my mother. She was always afraid of storms. When bad weather approached, she paced and kept a constant watch out the windows, even though there was nothing she could do to prevent what was coming. She once told me my Uncle Gordon was afraid of storms, too. She'd see him walking up the coal bank road before a storm and tell me he was going to go into the mines to get away from the weather.
When we lived up the holler, flooding was a constant threat to the houses that were built along the creek. After a big rain everyone walked up and down the road to look at the flood waters. We didn't live along the main creek, so we weren't worried about floodwater coming into our house, but we did have small coal mines on the hill behind our house. One time, it was either 1960 or 1961 when the big flood came through Kanawha County, the land slipped behind our house and we had to move out. I was just a young child and I remember Daddy waking me up in the middle of the night and telling me we had to get out. We lived with Grandma while we built another small house on the hill behind her. There were no coal mines behind this house.
The wind always scared me. After I finished high school, Mom, Dad and I left the holler and moved into the second story of an old house on the West Side of Charleston. My bedroom was a tiny room on the corner and you had to go through the bathroom to get to it. When the wind howled, it shook and I thought my little room was going to go with the wind.
During our first two years of marriage, we lived on the second floor of an apartment complex in Ripley, called Viking Village. I was around 6 months pregnant with our first child and Charley was on midnight shift. Waters came up during the night and covered the main road through town. Charley couldn't get home, we were flooded in on both sides. The waters kept rising and flowed into the downstairs apartments. People were leaving and I didn't know what to do. A strong neighbor piggy backed me through the deep water to the back of the apartments onto one of the back avenues that had not flooded. Charley was able to get on one of the back streets and retrieve me. I laugh when I think back to that early morning rescue.
Now, my family and I live on a little knoll and we get the brunt of the weather. Many trees have been blown down in our little subdivision during storms. Once, when my sons were young, we were watching out the front door while my husband (who can't stand storms) was outside. All at once we saw our plum tree blowing across our yard and my husband chasing after it (as if he was Superman and was going prevent what was happening). Andrew screamed, "Mommy, daddy's blowing away!"
Well, as always, my husband is outside and I am inside, looking out. While I typed this post, the storm roared outside and the wind whipped ferociously. I think all is well, though I haven't went outside to inspect the area. . . yet.
The weather is now calm and the sky has changed from a coal black to a mousy gray.
Are you afraid of storms? Do you have any storm tales to tell from your past?