What's the most extreme weather you've been in? A memorable storm? Heat wave? Or something else?
My mother was scared, and that scared me.
We were in her car, driving home from the grocery store. My little sister was strapped into her child seat in the back of the old Caddy, while I tried hard to fill up the passenger seat and be reassuring for Mom.
I looked out the windshield into the rain and wondered if it would ever stop; I wondered if we would be able to get home through the downpour…
In retrospect, it was not that bad, and Mom was just nervous, not scared. But I was 7 and had never seen the kind of rain that was falling around our car. My hometown is deep in the desert and rarely recieves more than an inch or two of rain in a year. Every few years or so, however, when the El Nino is running stong, the clouds can drop six or seven inches inside a week.
My other memories of that week are not too clear, but there are a few that stand out.
My 8th birthday party played out under an incredible lightening show that had all of us children gathered on the front porch, gasping with awe everytime the forks touched down and the thunder came rolling over us.
My dad helping the neighbors prepare for minor flooding by gathering sandbags that everyone felt would not be needed, but, better safe than sorry.
My friends and I, the day the rains finished, launching boats made of sticks and styrofoam cups into the running channels of the gutters at the curbs of the sidewalk.
And, sitting in the car, looking out through a windshield into a wall of water, waiting while my mom pulled the car to the side of the road and driving slowly, carefully, the last few miles to our house and running inside with my sister and my mom, into the comfortable safety of our living room, where we sat on our knees, looking over the back of the couch out into the yard, where the rain kept on falling.