Thursday, 14 August 2008
The Angels are Bowling
By Susan Fisher of Suzzwords
I must have been about six when Dad noticed how I flinched when lightning flashed and thunder boomed. Since we lived in Florida's thunderstorm alley, Dad decided it was time for a lesson in meteorology – his version – tailored just for a flakey, little kid.
Late the next hot summer afternoon, as a thunder storm approached from the west, Dad went out to the screened front porch and sat in a rocker. We lived on the edge of town and the small porch looked out over acres of farmland. The uncluttered view often included spectacular sunsets and on this day, a menacing storm front moving in over the city.
The doors and windows were open to let out the heat of the day as the cooling sea breeze from the ocean some twenty miles away stirred up the atmosphere. Great puffy grey clouds developed, fueled by heat rising from the land meeting the cooler air aloft. The next lightning "pop" and reverberating thunder rattled the dishes air drying in the drainer.
"Oh boy, a good one," Dad shouted from the porch after the particularly loud pop-boom. I was in my room, but could hear him clearly. Then another flash of lightning was soon followed by the roll of thunder.
"Hooeee, another strike!" shouted Dad.
Mom was busily slamming windows as I cautiously made my way to the porch to see what all that shouting was about. As I peeked around the door, Dad said, "Hey, Susie, come on out here. The angels are bowling!" He patted the rocker beside him just as heavy rain began.
The angels are what? I don't see any angels. I'd never seen an angel, but I'd watched my parents and their friends bowl. This didn't look at all like bowling. It's pouring rain and lightning is popping every few seconds. Just exactly how does this angel bowling business work?
"Yep, there's another strike. They're having a good time tonight."
Well, I figured Dad was seeing things I couldn't see, but I sure could see, hear and even feel that storm.
"Yep, it's just those angels bowling again," Dad began to explain as I cautiously climbed into the rocker beside him. "Every now and then the angels like to go bowling. That bolt of lightning is when one of them throws the ball and it hits the alley. In a few second the ball hits the pins and that noise you hear is when the angel gets a strike and all the pins fall over."
For some reason, that explanation made child-sense and helped ease my fear of thunder storms. For the next several years on hot summer evenings as storms approached, Dad and I sat on the porch keeping score for the angels. Oh, sure, I soon learned the truth about thunderstorms, but to this day I still prefer my father's kid-friendly version.