For me, the afternoon thunderstorms we’ve had lately triggered some happy thoughts of yesterday. It was around this time of year but during the late 1950’s. Thunderstorms would pop up suddenly, bringing wind gusts, vivid lightning strikes, and a downpour of rain. Of course and like today, the rain may come down in buckets but only lasted a couple minutes at the most. Then, there were the times a storm seemed to last for hours.
I was around 6 or 7 years of age, and was heading to my Aunt Lou’s on a typical, hot and humid summer afternoon. Aunt Lou lived about 4 to 5 hundred yards further down the dirt road that ran in front of our house, but this was THE place for me to be. In fact, she is the one I give credit to for spoiling me.
For example, every Friday night for me was spent at Aunt Lou’s. Didn’t matter what was going on; even if the next day was Christmas Day, I would be found at Aunt Lou’s. I always left a note for Santa advising I wouldn’t be at home Christmas Eve, and if he didn’t mind, please come see me down at Aunt Lou’s. He never failed me.
Regardless, it was summer; it was hot; it was dry. A few thunderheads floated across the blazing sky as I began the walk toward Aunt Lou’s. Now, my mom had always told me that if I wanted something bad enough, then I should pray to the good Lord above and ask Him for what I wanted. That didn’t mean I would get it, but if God wanted me to have it, I would.
One of my favorite pastimes was riding an old piece of a bicycle during a good rain. The dirt road held many places where rainwater would gather in puddles — the deeper, the better — and the road ditches would turn into a raging river…., at least, in the mind of this seven-year-old.
Ridin’ that old rust bucket through those puddles, in and out of the ditches filled with mud and runnin’ water, was pure ecstasy for this young boy. Perhaps that’s why I like muddin’ in a four wheel drive vehicle today.
Anyway and while walking to Aunt Lou’s, I prayed that it would rain so I could get on that ol’ bike and play like all get out. And guess what; God answered my prayer. Only problem was He answered it too well!
Folks, it came a sho’ ’nuff thunderstorm! Wind seemed to blow like it never had before; rain came down in torrents, thunder rumbled and roared like an angry beast, and lightnin’ was poppin’ like popcorn over a hot fire! I told Aunt Lou that I had prayed for rain on the way down, but I didn’t want it to rain this way! She just chuckled and said, “Sometimes you have to be careful of what you wish for; you might just get it.”
At the time, such wisdom didn’t mean much to me. However and as I grew up and learned a few things, I understood. Oh, I still wish for things, and on occasion, discover the truth, as well as the consequences, of certain wishes.
I am, however, extremely thankful for the memories – good and bad – of a time when I think we all were much better off.
Galen White is a columnist for the Bossier Press-Tribune. Visit bossierpress.com to see more from Galen.