We had been waiting all afternoon for the storm to hit. I hesitated pulling the kids to the park in the wagon thinking we’d inevitably be half a mile from home when the skies finally decide to break open. But they were growing antsy, sitting in the stuffy house, waiting for the rain that never seemed to be coming.
Louisa suggested we go out to the lake. I wanted to go to the greenhouse that was closing and see what plants they were willing to give me. When I had ridden my bike by earlier that morning a woman organizing what was left told me to come by between 4 and 6 and I could have whatever was left over. I did not need anymore plants, I really had no where to put them, but the idea of scoring some free plants was one I couldn’t pass up. It was only 3:15 though; too early to get my loot, but not really enough time to do much of anything else. Taking note of the ever darkening skies I thought going out to the lake sounded like a perfect idea. We could hop in the car, make the 10 mile drive and by the time we got out there it would start pouring and we could turn around and come home—just in time for me to get my goods. (Don’t let the mommy thing fool you, I really ever only think about myself.)
When we got to the lake it wasn’t raining, just dark. Louisa showed off her swing pumping skills, Hiro played in the water that was dripping from the outdoor shower. They splashed in the freezing lake, got their clothes all wet, and had a rock throwing contest before I had to throw the kibosh on the whole thing—the rain leaving it up to me to spoil all their fun. Thanks rain, ‘ppreciate it.
We made it back to the greenhouse just in time for me to be the proud new owner of 4 cherry pepper plants, 4 jalapeño plants, 4 cayenne pepper plants, 1 grape tomato plant, 1 yellow pear tomato plant, and way more sweet onion plants than I care to admit.
Back at the house Armando still wasn’t home from Bismarck yet and the sky had gone from midnight blue to black, like turn the lights on in the house it is nighttime black. I started dinner (really yummy fish recipe below) and gave him a call. He’s on the road, it’s raining, but nothing major, be home soon.
All the sudden the loudest crack of earth-shaking thunder you’ve ever heard rocked the entire house. In the instant that followed I scooped up the kids and headed for the front porch just as sheets of rain started falling from the sky, then more rain, then impossibly more rain. Water started pouring in from between the window wells and through a huge crack above the back porch which until this point had gone unnoticed. Hail the size of kumkquats came down next and I literally thought the next thing would be cats and dogs.
The power flickered, then died and that’s when we headed for the basement. There was no tornado siren going off, but the last summer storm that made the power go out resulted in three gigantic trees in our yard being ripped, roots and all, from the ground. With arms full of children, blankets, stuffed animals, candles, and a flashlight I climbed over the buckets and tubs catching the leaking water and ran down to the basement, only to realize that water was leaking there too. Just perfect. Do we slowly drown in the basement or risk being swept off the face of the Earth by a tornado? Deciding to press my luck with the drowning I spread out some blankets on a dry spot so the kids will have a place to sit down and prayed for Armando.
When the rain finally slowed from a deluge to a shower we ventured upstairs. The streets in our neighborhood were flooded a foot deep. In other neighborhoods around town where street gutters had clogged, the water was four to six feet deep. The storm dumped almost seven inches of rain in two hours. Armando had made it into town, but it still took him a half hour to find a way home through flooded streets.
An inmate had escaped earlier that day from the county jail. This kind of thing happens all the time here. I’ve never been to the jail, but I get the impression it is guarded by the same octogenarians who run all the other government services in the area. A friend of mine said the storm was God’s way of saying ‘Thou shall not escape from the Barnes County Correctional Facility’ but I believe it was his way of saying ‘Consider yourself spared’.
One More Thing
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