Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint as Mr. Brantley was unable to send a column this week.
The television is full of talk about hurricane season.
Everyone that I know of that has any age on them can tell you a weather story. One of my worst ones happened when I was a little boy. My brother came home from World War II and went to school on the GI Bill. He took farming. He rented a house and some land near Herrens Cross Roads about five miles from where my family lived. He moved into the so-called house — it did have electricity, a well, an outhouse – and that is about it. My brother, his wife, and baby moved into this place. He had a mule, a Model “A” car and he was in the farming business. One other thing he had was a nine-year-old brother that was out of school for the summer. I was told to go with my brother and help out. This was not uncommon in those days, I don’ think.
My other brother was about 16 and he went to work in the mill and he got paid. Besides all of this, he let it be known that he wasn’t a farmer today, tomorrow or the next time it was mentioned if the subject ever came up again.
On the other hand, I didn’t have to pack much. I had two pair of clothes, one that was being washed and the other I had on. It was summer, so I didn’t need shoes. There was a storm pit (most farmers had one) but this afternoon storm came up in a hurry. Lightning was cracking all around and we decided not to go to the storm pit.
Estelle (my sister-in-law) put a cotton mattress on the floor and we children were told to lay down on it.
She then put another cotton mattress on top of us. You younger folks may have to get an older person to explain a cotton mattress to you.
Before she could crawl in with us lightning hit and ran into this old shotgun of a house. It knocked the few wall-sockets out of the wall, hit a dresser mirror bursting it into a thousand pieces and hitting Estelle in the back. As I looked out from under the mattress everything was green, and the lightening had a burning smell that I haven’t forgotten until this day. The storm didn’t last very long, and we got out and surveyed the damage. It is a funny thing, but I can’t picture my brother being there when all of this happened, but he was there when we picked the glass out of Estelle’s back. I do remember that!
He went to work getting electricity back. It knocked out some window panes out and a few other things.
My brother said he was going to get some lightning rods installed but I guess as time went on he kinda forgot about all of this because I never saw any lightning rods. You know, to come to think of it, I can’t think of a single house that has lightning rods on it now. They used to be a common sight.
We all survived, but we did not forget. Estelle and I never forgot because any time we got together, and a cloud came up so did the subject of the summer storm and our experiences.
This is not my only story about storms but my only story for today.
Keep safe and dry!
Ronald Brantley is a Tallassee native and longtime columnist for The Tribune.