I’ve decided to take a day off. I can do this, because I have a luxury: my bride can write. She doesn’t think much of her writing, and I’m not sure why when I read something like this in today’s News-Herald. Granted, she’d rather copy edit than write — and a lot of times I would too (this is one of them — and I haven’t changed a thing save for adding a few links into the mix for your benefit, Dear Constant Reader, as some of you might not be from this area).
Here is Laura’s first post on collisionbend.com, written for the readership of her paper, posted here by permission:
When I was growing up, weather was a big thing at my house.
As with most children, the first flake of any snowstorm would send me into a bliss rivaled only by Christmas morning, as I planned my day off from school. Most times, I was foiled by the fact I didn’t live in the snow belt. Why didn’t Euclid get more snow? I had stuff to do!
But summer was far more exciting, not for the joys of playing outside, heading off to the pool or going on exciting vacations to places such as Frankenmuth, Mich., or Rochester, N.Y. (that’s the home of Kodak, I’ll have you know).
Summer, you see, brings thunderstorms — and my mother is deathly afraid of thunderstorms.
So, you see, we ALL became deathly afraid of thunderstorms.
Not so much the thunderstorm itself, but the process of the thunderstorm. The screaming, the swearing, the crying, the attempts by my father to reassure that “It’s past us by now. Look how bright it is outside.” That one was my favorite, by the way, because it was always followed by my mom peeking from behind the dishrag she held over her eyes, long enough to see an enormous crack of lightning, and then another string of profanity.
I always think of this scenario when I watch “A Christmas Story,” when Ralphie’s mom finds out he used the ultimate curse word (and yes, you know which one I mean), then calls the mom of the kid he blames for teaching it to him. She asks, “Do you know where he heard it?” I always think, “Yeah, from you, mom, when you were hiding from the lightning.”
The worst storms were the ones in the middle of the night. We’d all be awake, because there was always screaming. Lightning, unfortunately, is brighter at night than in the daytime.
And when I was little, before the city’s storm sewers were corrected, thunderstorms were always followed by cleaning the basement, because we’d inevitably get water in the basement. Even 30 years after the problem was corrected, stuff in my mom’s basement still sits on blocks, 12 inches off the ground.
All this comes to mind because it’s hurricane season again. It’s fast becoming my favorite of the seasons. Yes, I know it’s not an official one, like spring or fall, but TV news sure treats it that way.
For the past two years, I’ve been fascinated by hurricanes. Perhaps it’s because I live in Ohio, and they’ve been hitting pretty far away. I’m sure I’d be less than thrilled if I lived along the Gulf Coast, or knew anyone who does.
But last year, I spent a month of weekend nights sitting in my living room, in the middle of the night, watching CNN’s Anderson Cooper get tossed around by various storms in places such as Florida and Alabama.
Now, Cooper is a pretty skinny guy. I’m sure I’m wrong, but on TV he looks as though he weighs about 120 pounds. But there he was, getting whipped around by these nearly 100 mph winds, looking like a rag doll.
And this weekend, when Hurricane Dennis rolled into the Florida Panhandle, there again was Cooper, flailing about in the heavy winds of Pensacola, Fla., this time just barely missing being decapitated by a sign that blew off a Ramada Inn.
Weather is thrilling to watch, especially when it’s happening to someone else. Anyone who’s planned any kind of event knows what it’s like to watch the forecast, hoping the storm that’s barreling toward you will suddenly shift its direction, and slam into someone else’s event.
I did this a few years ago, in the week before my Dec. 21 wedding. I remember thinking, “They don’t get enough snow in Geauga County. It can go there.”
We in the media know weather sells. We know it happens to everyone. You go outside, and there’s weather. You want to drive to the mall, you travel through weather.
You go to a Tribe game, it CAN’T rain. We can’t have 45-mph winds when the kids are trying to trick-or-treat.
While I can’t say the weather has ever caused me to derail any of my plans, it’s probably because I really don’t make a lot of plans — there’s too much weather to watch on television!
Laura Kessel is news editor at The News-Herald.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I have inserted links into this article for emphasis and instruction; those of you who don’t know that Geauga County, Ohio, gets more snow than almost anywhere east of the Mississippi can now get a hint toward my bride’s humor. One of these days, we’ll cover a hurricane ourselves; that would be grand.