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Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Angels are Bowling

By Susan Fisher of Suzzwords


Susanfisher 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.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I would prefer that too. What a wise man he was.

What a good daddy.

I remember that story, also told by my father but I think I may have been too old to believe it! At any rate, I also told it to my children to assuage their fears. However, I think your father went that extra mile sitting with you and actually counting the strikes - no wonder it comforted you. Thanks for the memories.

When my grandkids were small we used to take a place in Ocean City,NJ right on the Atlantic.

They had some powerful thunder and lightning storms there about once a week. That's when ALL the kids(At times as many as 8)would all jump into the same bed and cling to each other and tell spooky stories that scared the littlest ones.How many times I tried to rescue the littlest ones and they would cry,"No,Nanny, I want to stay here." They loved being scared as long as they knew they were really safe.

Your story brought that happy memory back to me . Those kids are all grown up now and I miss
that fun......

Great story. Being a native Floridian, growing up I dreaded the summers because of the lightening and thundering (and tornados). Daddy always told us not to be afraid, but it was hard to do when you saw our cows and horses being struck down. It seems like the storms were worse back then, but we were children and many things seemed larger than they really were. I enjoyed your story.

Oh, what a gem your dad was Susan. I love his version too...and I would have loved to have been sitting right out there on the porch with him. I just love storms...and have since I was a kid. Your dad was wayyyyy cool.

Ozzy and Harriet who? Your dad did a wonderful thing for you when you were 6 and it lasted your whole life.

My dad was similar! When it thundered, he'd say that Saint Peter made a strike. I did the same with the Dynamic Duo.

My Mom had been hit by lightening as a child, so was very fearful...made us all get in the middle of a feather bed. Fortunately, her fears did not carry to me, so I love it when "the angels are bowling". Neat story!!

wonderful story Susan. Sharing your memory of your Dad reminds me to send gratitude for my own Dad (and for the very occasional thunderstorm we get here in Oregon)

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