Friday, July 6, 2012


I spent the past week at my grandparents' house in North Carolina. As usual, the time with my family was generally pleasant, and all was well. The only real downside was the sun's searing beams of death scorching the earth the entire time we were there.

There was plenty of sweet-tea drinking and TV-watching going on, but we were determined to spend at least some of our time outside. The initial thought was to seek refuge in the pool where SURELY the heat could not penetrate. But alas, we were very wrong, and the water was roughly the temperature of freshly-spewed lava. So, with the pool plan thwarted and the steady barrage of fire and brimstone raining from the sky, it appeared that all hopes of an outdoor gathering were lost.

However, the next day's weather was unexpectedly tolerable. Not only did the sun take a chill pill, but the pool water was no longer boiling and swimming no longer felt like you were awkwardly wading through a community bath. This was good news for the abundance of very loud, very stir-crazy children around and even better news for the parents of said very loud, very stir-crazy children. Life was good and my grandparents' home was, once again, restored to a tolerable decibel level.

But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And this day was no different.

Within a matter of seconds, the brilliantly blue sky dotted by the occasional white, puffy cloud was turned into a mass of swirling grey and black masses. The wind picked up and tore rapidly through the pine trees overhead. Several cracks of thunder sounded off closely followed by a series of brilliant flashes of lightning.

Now, as you're reading this, you no doubt understand the gravity of the situation I'm describing. It's dangerous, and everyone needs to get out of the pool and go inside, preferably in a calm and orderly fashion. But the difference between you and a handful of emotionally volatile children is that you understand that the storm at hand is not an evil rage monster with the sole intention to kill you in the most violent way possible.

Unfortunately, conveying that fact in the midst of the previously described situation is about as futile as trying to teach a rock to fly. Before I could even make my way to the edge of the pool, I was literally trampled by two of my cousins who are both less than half my age, height, and weight. There were kids sprinting in almost every direction possible, little blurs of color careening through the yard towards the house. My youngest brother, who is deathly terrified of storms, reached the door first by means of either a teleporter or possibly some manner of time travel. I believe he may actually possess the same storm-sensing abilities that animals have, something that allows him to reach safety by any means necessary before the first sign of bad weather is even evident.

Two of my youngest cousins, ages three and five, tied for second place into the house, completely unaware of the fact that they were still soaked from head to toe and trudging water through the living room. They then began exhibiting behaviors that I would not have otherwise expected from girls their age...

The older of the two, Annie, threw herself against the glass backdoor where she began screaming, "MOM! MOM! MOMMY! MOMMY!" for a solid two minutes. Her mom, who was still in the yard tying things down and collecting anything that might blow away, answered coolly, "I'm fine. I'll be right there. It's okay. Calm down. It's alright." Despite several reassuring replies, Annie continued yelling through the glass, clearly distraught that the enormous rage monster in the sky was closing in on her mother.

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Annie's younger sister, Dacie, was absolutely furious with the rage monster's presence: "STOOPIT STOHHM! It wained on my baybing soup!" We all found this hilarious, much to Dacie's dismay. We simply did not comprehend the atrocity that is the storm and how big of a jerk it was.

The older cousins in the group, ages 9 to 14, were in panic mode just like their younger counterparts. However, after their initial burst towards the house, they all simultaneously recognized the opportunity to appear manly and/or heroic by being one of the last ones in the house, the one who stayed and helped the ADULTS. The closer they came to the house, the more they congregated in a traffic-jam-esque group right in front of the door. For the first time in their lives, the last one in was NOT the rotten egg; he or she would be the egg of courage and power and awesomeness who could look stormy rage monsters in the face and say, "Haha! I stalled a full forty-six seconds before fleeing your wrath like a elementary-aged schoolgirl!" Unfortunately, their spontaneous rite of passage ceremony came to an abrupt close as a notably loud crack of thunder sent them flailing inside. Maybe next year, guys.

In the end, all children, pets, and adults were accounted for. No one was seriously injured in the zombie-apocalypse-style scene that occurred in my grandparents' backyard that day, and we all had ice cream afterwards. All was and is still well.

However, I'm fairly certain that a crippling fear of storms will forever haunt my family's gene pool. Stoopit stohhm.