Growing up on the east coast and experiencing the power and wonder that torrential downpours can bring, I often sit back on nights like tonight wondering if the winds and lightning that tease, will actually yield rainfalls like those of my youth.
We used to sit on the porch. Usually one of us would make their way out there before the rest.
In those days, at nights, on weekends, the TV was on and basically, for better or for worse, that was the entertainment.
We used to watch a movie or crime suspense drama, and the family would gather around…
There was a rhythm when it came to Saturday night.
You went to the bathroom when it was time. Tried to get it all done during commercials—whether it was grabbing something from the fridge or making a bathroom call or both, it was all timed.
If you returned before the program you were watching resumed, all the better. Sometimes you failed to catch it by minutes and a family member would quietly fill you in with whispers about what you missed, while the rest of the family was glued.
Occasionally, for natural reasons, there would be an alternate rhythm.
During a commercial break, or sometimes during the program, you’d see a lightning strike. “Whoa!” was often heard. Not “Whoa, Nellie!” – props to Keith Jackson and Kentucky Derby winner “I’ll Have Another,” by the way…
Anyway…you know what I’m talking about.
Sure, especially when it was warm out like it is now, you’d here music emanating from cars as they passed your house, but still, nothing was disturbing the quiet and peace of residential suburbia that we had growing up. Everyone respected their neighbors and all had consideration for one another.
What could usually bring everyone to stop what he or she was doing and take notice, however, was a sudden shift in the weather.
In our family, the sound of thunder and a sudden bolt of lightning would take whoever was up at the time, to the porch, by storm, pun intended.
The porch was an observatory of sorts—the vantage point, the place, where we could all witness mother nature reminding us of who really is in charge when it comes to the mythical Norman Rockwell Americana or modern day, pulsating bass and failed times.
So the rains would come down and one family member would make their way to the porch.
If it was one of us who were quite young, we’d call out to the rest of the family. Most often, though, as we were growing up, the one who first made their way to the porch got to enjoy the initial forays of the storm by themselves.
Soon enough the TV program was over, got boring or another member of the family found the lure of the storm and the porch, too irresistible. Shortly thereafter, another, sharing a seat on the glider couch or assuming a spot on one of the free chairs, joined the first family member.
Both would smile at one another, becoming enraptured by the crackling of thunder and the flashes of lightning as the rain started to come down.
The sound of the rain falling, lightning flashing and thunder pounding, would soon enough attract the rest of the family.
Not much was being said. No artificial bass was pounding from neighbors’ way. No words were being spoken.
It was dark, and we couldn’t see each other’s faces.
No need. Mother nature once again provided what electronics—the word for yesteryear, and technology—the word for today, could never provide.
It was complete.
It was powerful.
It was entertainment.