“Weather Days and Weather Nights”


A few nights back, I was awakened by bright static flashes against my eyelids. Lightening from afar brings a storm.

I lay in my bed, eyes now open for most of an hour, cataloging the most intense flashes through the window curtains, waiting for the following thunder to announce the wind and rain. The anticipation of a storm is pure dope for a weather nerd. I’ve been addicted for most of my life.

The television weather folk had been hawking this storm for days prior. Warnings, interviews with people on the street, getting every drop of drama out of their forecast. The cute weatherwomen and stern weathermen called for Apocalyptic conditions favorable for tornadoes and various end times hi-jinx. This would be no more than a typical spring supercell thunderstorm. Texans take their weather as seriously as the Alamo, Willie Nelson, and BBQ.

It’s a well-known semi-historical fact that Colonel William Barrett Travis predicted the cold and rainy weather during the siege of the Alamo. General Santa Anna, relying on his hungover weathermen, expected spring break conditions in San Antonio, and didn’t dress accordingly.

My first solid memory of bad weather happened when my grandmother carried me into her storm cellar as a vicious thunderstorm attacked the family farm; I was four years old. Every summer after that, there were numerous trips to the safety of that dank dirt storm cellar. Two cots, a pile of quilts, and a kerosene lamp were enough to see us through a siege. Shelves of canned fruit and vegetables lined the walls. Winters food pantry for when the land is at rest and for us to dine if the storm lasted more than a day.

If you are a farmer in Texas, the weather “is your life.” It will make or break your crop season with no warnings or apologies.

My Grandfather was a typical old-school pioneer farmer that possessed an active and painful weather bone in his left leg and a working man’s knowledge of the stratosphere. My grandmother was equally blessed with a pinky toe that swelled when a storm was brewing. Together, not much got past the two.

Grandmother would stare at a tiny cloud in a pure blue sky and remark, ” it’s gonna come up a cloud tonight.” She was rarely wrong.

During my summer visits to the farm, against my young will, I was dragged by my Grandfather to the domino parlor daily and subjected to hours of bullshit and weather talk from the old farmers in Santa Anna, Texas.

Old men in straw hats, bib overalls, and a cheek full of Redman tobacco ruled the world in those times. It was all about the weather and when will it come, how bad will it be, and how much rain could be expected? I usually fell asleep with drool running down my cheek after an hour. Then, it was back to the farm while my grandmother limped around the house because her weather toe was swollen. Good Lord. The family was a meteorological wreck.

Thank God, the family gene skipped my sister and me, so we depend on our local televisions weather personalities.

11 Replies to ““Weather Days and Weather Nights””

  1. My grandmother always could “feel it in her bones” that a storm was coming. I’m beginning to understand what she meant.
    Tornados here in middle Tennessee hit us every damn year. Knock on wood (I’m poking my head) I’ve never seen one in person.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We don’t get those Texas-size storms up here in the New York area, and I do love a good storm — had plenty of them when we lived in Miami Beach. Ah, the Miami Vice ‘80s — I do miss ‘em.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You characterize Texas weather so well. I too have been taken to my grandparents “tornado shelter” with the jars, cans & lights in Abilene, Texas. Could sure use a good storm around these parts: Kerrville-Bandera area. Thanks again.

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    1. Got one coming here tonight and then again on Monday. We will be in Ruidoso NM enjoying the mountain airs so good luck getting some rain. It doesn’t rain too much down in your area if I recall correctly. Storm cellars and farm life go hand in hand.

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  4. Ah, weather memories! From an isolated thunderstorm a few hundred yards wide blowing over us in a matter of minutes to watching a tornado tear up hangers at what is now Lockheed Martin on an almost clear day, I’ve seen some strange weather in Texas and Louisiana.

    The weirdest, in a way, was in Zwolle, Louisiana when we were visiting my grandmother. The adults all called it a cyclone. Whatever the technical name, I remember seeing really strong winds, with my dad and uncle standing on the front porch holding its corrugated metal roof in place.

    My uncle was facing into the wind holding on to the roof with one hand and his arm locked around a wooden column. He looked like a character from an old movie standing at the bow of a ship while waves and rain tried to drown him. At least I didn’t have to go to the domino parlor afterward. Thanks for the memories.

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      1. We had one in Gilmer that ripped only a mile from our house. Demolished homes, huge trees stripped of limbs, debris everywhere. First one I have actually seen in my long life. Thankful that it didn’t steer towards our subdivision.

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  5. “The family was a meteorological wreck.” LOL!

    Texas weather is a scary thing. I saw the videos of the tornado that hit Round Rock. I was shocked. I didn’t think that tornado alley went that far down. I always thought it stopped at Waco.

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