Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: STORM (10/05/17)
TITLE: A Weather Notion
By Shirley McClay
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“I know. He has one of his ‘weather notions.’ I never understand how he knows, but he always has some kind of hint when bad weather is coming. So just do what he says and quit complaining.” Mom opened the door to the fridge and put the last two jugs of milk next to the other four already stashed in there. “Where is he anyway?”
“Filling the generator with gas. I still have to carry in the water jugs and then we’ll unload the animal feed in the barn. I want to hurry ‘cause it’s starting to rain. It’s cold enough that being wet would be miserable really fast.” I stretched and cracked my neck. “At least I won’t lose any muscle tone over this Christmas vacation!”
“Ah, yes. The priorities of a fifteen-year-old boy.” My dad walked in with a big water cooler bottle in each hand. “I’ll get the water, son, you go fill the water tanks for the horses and cows.”
I grabbed a handful of frosted sugar cookies from the kitchen where my sisters were busy with Christmas baking and headed out to the barn. There was a lot to get done before supper and no way did I want to be late for the lasagna Grandma was sliding into the second oven.
The next morning, I woke early to help with chores. It had rained all night and I knew it would be a miserable job, so I sidetracked through the kitchen to get a snack to hold me over until breakfast. My sisters were all grouped around the window so I helped myself to two hot blueberry muffins and snuck out the door, shrugging into my coat on the way. It was difficult as I didn’t want to smush my muffins and I wasn’t looking around as I stepped onto the porch. Next thing I knew I was flat on my back staring up at the sky and, yes... still clutching the now slightly smushed muffins. I tried to sit up, but everything was coated with slippery wet ice.
I finally pulled myself up to sit against the porch railing and looked around in awe. Ice draped across the trees and they bowed low under the weight. The ground was completely coated in ice and a mist of rain was still coming down. As I sat on the step gaping at the sight, the porch light flicked on and I shifted to see Gramps carefully making his way toward me. He scooped ashes onto the ground in front of him before he took each step. Even then he clearly struggled to stay on his feet.
I glanced over at the kitchen window and winced at the site of my sisters laughing hard enough to have to wipe away tears.
I loud crack made me jump and spin around to look toward the sound. A massive tree limb fell to the ground just a few feet from the truck.
It took us over three hours to feed all the stock… a job that usually took less than half an hour. I was wishing I had grabbed more than two muffins by the time we made it in to breakfast. Well… brunch by the time we got in.
All day we heard cracking and smashing sounds outside. Trees were falling down all around us. We were safe and warm but the temperature dropped again that night and snow covered all that ice. We were trapped at Gramp’s for six days. It took three days before the temperature came up enough to melt the ice and snow and another three to clear the road of all the downed trees. Apparently trees in the south don’t have deep root systems. The ice and wet snow did some crazy damage all through the forest.
Christmas was spent around the fireplace, praying for people who weren’t as well prepared as we were. I had plenty of bruises from falling while doing chores for those three days, but a whole new appreciation for Gramp’s “weather notions” and the reasoning behind preparing for storms in the south! And yeah... between slipping and sliding my way around the farm to do chores and then clearing the downed trees and limbs, I went home with more muscles than I came with!
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