Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Going To The Basement

It was the thunder of the last strike that woke you. Boom, and you opened your eyes, waiting to catch the next flash when it lights the window and x-rays the curtains. Sure enough, flash flash flicker, pause, boom and crackle. You'd gone to bed after a day of hard play, muggy and hot, and slept fitfully, knowing you were dreaming, but not remembering any details each time you awoke. But now, well, this is something! Soon, your mother is up and coming down the hall to your room and your dad is rummaging around the tool drawer for the flashlights, because the power is out. Next he is in the living room, unplugging the television set and the console stereo. You all meet in the kitchen, pausing long enough for someone to notify the power company. Then you all pad down the stairs into the basement, dragging blankets and pillows, your dad in the lead with the biggest flashlight and your mom tailing, shining hers at your feet to light the steps. You and your sister and your mom huddle on the old velvet sofa with the carved wood trim that came from grandma's house. Pillows and blankets are layered and piled and prodded into comfortable nests and she might read you a book by flashlight. Your dad might sit on an old chair, alert and protective, or he might prowl about the nether regions of the basement to make sure there are no leaks or windows open or to check the status of the various beasts of utility to make sure there is no lightening damage. He might rummage around the workshop for the battery radio to see if there are tornado warnings or merely storm warnings and to gauge the extent and duration of the event.
There is no feeling so safe as being down in the basement with your family while the storm rages and wails all around.

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