Friday, April 3, 2009

Lovin' The Thunder


This is a strange little post, I know, but I felt compelled to write it anyway. It might not mean anything to any of you reading it but, it's something I felt compelled to write just the same.

I was driving home this afternoon and I noticed how the late afternoon sky looked as if it was about to storm. It turned a dark grayish color and then it looked as if it was about to get lighter. In the horizon, I could see the sun about to set. I don't usually do this but, I pulled my car over to the side, parked it, and got out to look at the sky. I fumbled with my cell phone trying to take a picture of it.

Most of us usually don't have the time or the inclination to marvel at the tapestry that God paints everyday that no artist, living or dead, can properly recreate. I have come to love the beauty of a sky when a thunderstorm is brewing. I think it's the most beautiful sight on God's green earth. You think that's weird, don't you? Yeah, I do too but, every once in awhile, I have to stop and marvel at it. It's just me.

The first time I noticed the sky like that, I think I was 12 years old. I was with my uncle and he was in a popular joint in West Philadelphia called "Punchy's". Anybody who lived in West Philly circa 1970-1987 knew about Punchy's... every black community has one. This was the place where everybody went on Friday to get their seafood. Fried fish sandwiches sold like crazy, crab cakes, tilapia, shrimp, you name it. Punchy's was the place to go.

I couldn't eat seafood because I was allergic so, I usually got a hot dog... but, I loved Punchy's french fries in the little red plaid box with salt, pepper, and ketchup on them. I also loved watching the cooks in Punchy's roll the fish in the corn meal and drop them in the vats, where they were fried golden brown and served up in between two pieces of white bread.

On this one particular Friday, I was outside waiting for my uncle to get our food and I was watching the sky. It looked bad... it was black! The wind was blowing a little and you could tell it was going to rain any minute. I was wishing that he would hurry up. It had been particularly humid that day and close to 97 degrees. The wind felt good but, I didn't want to get drenched. I looked up at the sky and was mesmerized by how different it looked at that moment. The sun was playing peek-a-boo and the dark clouds and light clouds were shifting back and forth. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Up to then, I don't recall ever stopping to take the time to notice it before.

Just as my uncle walked out of Punchy's with our food, we heard thunder... lots of it. I admit I was a little uneasy but, what we saw next I will never forget. A huge bright streak of lightning struck a tree right across the street from us. It was a huge tree and it split in half. It fell on top of a row house with a thud and its branches broke through the top window of the house.

My uncle was as stunned as I was and his mouth was hanging wide open. He looked at me and said... "Boy, you know somethin'? Now is about as good a time as ever to run if you was gonna." He didn't have to tell me twice. We both got in the wind (as they used to say) and ran for all we were worth to my grandparent's house. The flood gates opened up and rain just poured from the sky.

I was running like the future track star I was going to be. My uncle, who was about the same age I am now back then, was a smoker and he was soon out of breath... but, my skinny little legs kept moving until I got to my grandparent's house. He got there eventually... soaking wet but, holding on to that bag of food.

They were spreading the Cokes, fried fish sandwiches, and french fries on the table and preparing to eat, while I was looking out the window at the beautiful sky and the lightning that accompanied it. My grandmother didn't play that... when it was thundering and lightning, she believed that the "Lord was tendin' to his business". You had to turn off the lights, the radios, and everything else and just sit quiet and still. My grandfather and uncle wanted to eat but, she wasn't having it. I also had to come off that porch and sit still until it stopped. As you can see, nobody was as enthused by the thunder as I.

Years later, I was in the Air Force and stationed in Texas. I happened to see a hail storm mixed with lightning in the distance. All of the other guys were running for cover and I was out there with a camera trying to take a photo of it all. I thought it was great. They thought I was crazy. I can see why they would. I didn't get a good photo that day... not one that captured the glory of it all. And, nothing I can write here can adequately describe the splendor of that sky. That's just God... that's all I can say. The matchless wonder of God's handy work.

Tonight, I stood on the corner trying to take a photo of the sky but, it wouldn't cooperate. And, just as quickly as the sky got dark, it got light again as the sun fought and won it's way through the clouds. Jazmine Sullivan was on the radio singing, "Like A Hurricane" (Was that an omen or what?) while the warm wind blew softly against my face.

22 comments:

Solomon said...

There is nothing like an appraoching storm, I'm feeling ya on this one Keith. I've always been mesmerized by them, and the funny thing is I've always had the feeling like I will make it through the storm, no matter how dark it has gotten.

CareyCarey said...

You have to quit ...I love thunder storms! There's nothing like a screened in porch on a stormy night.

"Turm off that TV boy, didn't you see that lightning" That is definitely a black grandmomma thang *lol*

Angel said...

I really enjoy all your posts but that was the most beautiful so far.
When the sky changes for thunder is is mesmerising.

God is such an artist that rarely we stop to take time to marvel at the beauty he creates each day.

Toni said...

Keith This was beautiful.

Angie B. said...

Awww Keith, I simply loved this.

Sunflower said...

You never cease to amaze me with your writing Keith

LIsa said...

Couldn't sleep last night...got up went to my laptop and read this...It was beautiful. What happened to "Escapades"? No new post?? That's my other daily fix.

Vanessa said...

Keith,I loved this. Your Grandmama
sounds just like mine about that thunder!-lololol.

Halo said...

I love thunder storms too! The sky is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thunderstorms make me horny!

James Perkins said...

LmAO @ Anonymous- That is way too much information.

Beautiful Post Keith!

Simon Bastion said...

I love an approaching storm..and you are right..The sky is beautiful.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Lovin tha Thunder!!! Me myself..I get inside...Lightning is dangerous.

Jazzy said...

Eclectic Post good brother!

Sean said...

"The Lord is tending to his business" Definitely a Black Grandmama thang..lolololol.

Tate2 said...

Jazmine sullivan is the business..and I love that song "Like a Hurricane". It's fitting for this post as well as the situation you were in..the on coming of a potential rainstorm.

Swaggie said...

I'm terrified of lightning..but your post has made me rethink my fear....from a distance.lololol.

Captain Jack said...

This was simply beautiful..and perfect for a Friday.

Rich Fitzgerald said...

Stop playing man. You wrote the hell out of that one. Everytime I come over here I want to type out a little something. That was beautiful, vivid, and familiar.

You took me back to my Grandma's house with that one.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

All black grandmothers got the "God is doing his work so sit down" in common.

I don't too much care for thunderstorms but I do notice the clouds. Just yesterday it went from dark and raining to sunny and raining within an hour. After it stopped, a beautiful rainbow was in the sky. I took a few photos of the rainbow. I just might post them today. God is awesome!

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Yep, my aunt used to have me scampering off to the basement steps during storms. She'd fan us with the newspaper because it was usually hot and humid. And, lord knows, don't think about being on the telephone...lol. I miss those days :-(.

I noticed how puffy and ominous the clouds were on our today. I love to see the wind blow them across the sky. I need to take more time for those moments of solitude. Finding the beauty in all of God's creations is like finding a rare gem...they're rarely the same.

Cheryl said...

Keith this was beautiful..I'm just going back and reading some of your posts that I missed.




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