Thursday, November 16, 2006

Get the flashlight. I feel a drizzle.

Storms are sweeping across the South this week. I can bet you that the majority of the folks affected are either glued to their television screens or listening to weather radios. It's just what we do. Most of us in the Deep South don't see snow, much less blizzards. But we do take a tornado, hurricane or even a severe thunderstorm very seriously. Rightly so, considering the damage they cause.

At any given time during the day, you could walk in my grandmother's living room and find her television on. It was playing one of two channels- CMT or The Weather Channel. That's it. So, you either had to absolutely love Garth Brooks or Jim Cantore.

If I called Granny or Papa they would always tell me the weather at their house. Then they would ask me the weather at my house. It didn't really matter where I was living- across the country in the southwestern United States or just a 45 minute drive away. This information was vitally important to the conversation.

Growing up, I can remember little rules of the weather- "Get off the phone when it is lightning. Don't stand too close to a window. Get out of the bathtub, Melanie. I think I hear thunder."

I remember our school going through tornado drills. One afternoon a tornado touched down nearby.

I was actually a little excited about it. "Cool. A real tornado. We don't have to curl up in a ball on our knees and just pretend."

Hey! I was a naive little kid. I had no idea what those storms could really do. My only exposure to twisters involved a tin man and a cute little dog.

With all of this serious weather hypersensitivity, it stands to reason why my own mama would react the way she did one day last year on a "severe weather conditions" evening.

Severe thunderstorms were threatening the area. Mama and Daddy had been watching the weather all evening. (Surprised?) Let me repeat that- the weather was threatening the area. It had not actually arrived to the area to follow through on the threat. Which makes me wonder: Does the storm send a note to the weatherman outlining the threat with some demands or does it just call him and hang up the phone?

I digress in a post, yet again.

So, there was Daddy watching Wheel of Fortune in his recliner, with the severe weather banner running across the bottom of the screen.

While Mama was seeking shelter in the safest part of the house.

Mama has arthritic knees (hence my daughter's comment on "the poopy walk"). So, being the resourceful person she is, Mama got a dining room chair to sit in while she waited for the impending storm that had not arrived. She pulled the chair in the hallway, away from all doors and windows.

Daddy was still in the recliner watching television. Ya know, because the power and the cable were still on.

Then Mama went in her room and put on some decent clothes, "because a woman does not want to go through a tornado or a bad storm and end up on Channel 10 News in some old house clothes." (Her words, not mine.) Then she put on a little make-up, the really crucial items, blush and lipstick. Mama made sure she was wearing her wedding rings, and then she sat in the chair in the hallway and waited.

While Daddy watched Pat Sajak.

Then Mama realized she had forgotten something. She hopped up and went back in her room to find it. Once she found it, she got back in her chair in the hallway and sat it on her lap, clutching it to her chest, the most important possession for every Southern woman- her purse.

And she waited. And waited. And waited.

And nothing happened.

While Daddy watched Millionaire.

And that, my friends, was the night that the lights almost went out in Georgia.


lrlwreath said...

Hey you can't blame her for not being prepared. I love it!!!! What a great story. It is sure wet here in FL today.

Big Mama said...

This just cracked me up. The mental image of your mama all dolled up with purse in hand sitting in a chair in the hallway is just hysterical.

She might want to think about a hairnet so she won't be too windblown on the 10:00 news.

Tammy said...

As usual, funny stuff Melanie! I could picture it all.

"So, you either had to absolutely love Garth Brooks or Jim Cantore."

Love it. And I do love The Weather Channel, too...even though most of the time in the NW we just get that green stuff on the radar.

(Sidenote: Fairly big windstorms here lately, though!)

Susanne said...

That is just hilarious! Love that she changed her clothes and put on a little makeup.

Last year we here in our little spot in Canada actually had a tornado warning. The first one I ever know of in my life. The kind where the emergency signal is blasting on the t.v. We like fools all went outside to watch the swirling clouds. The whole neighborhood was out there gazing heavenward. My brother in law even climbed on his roof to get a better view of this strange phenomenon while my sister was trying to find a safe spot in the basement. When their girl asked what her dad was doing, my sister flippantly remarked that he was trying to catch a free ride. :vD

Southern Girl said...

One of my grandmothers was deathly afraid of storms (she would have been in the hallway -- or a closet -- with your mama), and her big rule for storms was, "Don't pee during a storm." Apparently lightning might strike the pipe, travel through the water, up the pee and then to us, electrocuting us to death.

To this day, even though I know it's highly unlikely, at the first distant rumble of thunder, I make a trip to the bathroom. ;)

Linda said...

Hey, all of those warnings about what not to do in inclement weather is a thing in Indiana, too! We always had to get off the phone. Alsom, we would stand on throw rugs that had rubber backs because that was supposed to ground you somehow. Your mother in the hall is too much! This was so funny.

Mommy Dearest said...

Great mental image of your mother! I had a girlfriend in high school whose parents worried about everything. Once I was at her house when a storm hit and they made us stay in the bathroom.

We had a tornado alarm in jr. high and our home ec teacher locked kids in the (fake) kitchen cabinets. Memories... {sigh}

Jen said...

We to have fire drills at school I hated them even though I knew there was actually no fire my eyes would get all teary anyway
bless your Mama

JD said...

Just found your site today. I'm a Georgia native, too, and still live here. My dad's main topic of conversation is, and always has been, the weather. And, my mom NEVER goes without her make-up and coordinating outfits.

Chrissy said...

You'll love this, Melanie - we live on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. The big joke is that you know you're in trouble if you see the Weather Channel van parked in front of your house.

A couple years ago during hurricane season we were in a restaurant and the TV above the bar was tuned to the Weather Channel. And there was Jim Cantore on our little beach! It was one of those situations where the hurricane wasn't very strong and could change it's track at any time, but there he was. We were in no danger and I have no idea why the weather channel's powers that be chose that particular location. All that being said, we all got tickled about it.