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Weather - and how we react to it

I watched a television show recently about some of the old wives tales and false beliefs we have regarding the weather. It made me remember some of the odd and wrong ways we (my family and I) handled weather and weather threats.

My dad's sisters feared storms and would take a bottle of liquor and hide in the clothes closet. They would not come out until someone opened the door and told them it was over.

They were afraid to even peek out. They could be there for hours.These were grown well-educated women but until the day they died they still carried this fear.

I remember the time my Dad was driving them to an event when a lightening and thunder storm started. They were (three of them) in the back seat (or rather the floor) screaming, praying and begging God to save them. My Dad swore he would never drive them again.

My mother was also afraid of storms. I remember in the summer months when a storm came up she would pack up the three of us kids and we would go across the street to a neighbor's house.

First, we would bless ourselves and the house with holy water. The only time I was ever in their home was during storms. Quite often we would sit on the porch and enjoy the rain; at least the kids did anyway.

When the thunder and lightning stopped we would get in our bathing suits and go out and play in the rain. Somehow being with other people seemed to help my mother.

When my first daughter was about 2 months old, we lived upstairs from my grandmother. There was a terrible lightening storm. I was frightened but did not want to pass the fear on to her.

I wrapped her up and went downstairs and visited with my grandmother. We talked about everything but the storm. I told myself I was not afraid and acted "as if." It worked not only for her but I also lost my fear.

I'm sure we all have tales of when we lost power. The worst I remember is one summer storm that knocked out power in our neighborhood for seven days and five minutes. (yes, exactly 7 days and 5 minutes - we kept track). We were the last to be rescued.

When the linemen walked down our streets the neighbors all came out and cheered. It felt like we had been at war and the American troops had landed. I keep flashlights in every room of the house now. Of course, I have my holy water too.

I wish I had used the technique of "acting as if" back when I had to drive in bad weather, especially ice and snow.

One very bad icy snowy day I had to pick up my daughter and her friends at college. The car had a mind of its own. It went into a skid. I did what we were always told and went with the skid.

I missed hitting a parked car by inches. Where was John Stossel when I needed him? Common sense and the Stossel weather TV special both say to steer where you want to go. It makes sense now but back then, rules were rules. After that episode, I only drive in bad weather when absolutely necessary, like life and death.

I always heard it was the overly careful driver who caused most accidents in bad weather, so I stay off the roads.

I do love to drive (in good weather), travel on errands, to friend's houses, doctors etc. But not the evil freeway. I don't think I'm good at merges. How can I quickly decide how fast another driver is going and what if I can't get into the proper lane on time etc?

Yes, merging freeways and bad weather are not for the faint at heart.

I am not a fearful driver on the proper roads. I keep up with the speed and only got one ticket in my life and that was for speeding in a trick zone.

The limit was 25 for 3 streets and then back to 30. When the policeman pulled me over, I thought he needed my vehicle for a chase or something and was getting out of the car to give it to him. Too many television shows I guess. But, that's another story.

They say to stay in the car during a storm but (and I think this is new) do not touch anything metal; keep your hands on your lap.

If a tornado is headed your way and you're in the car get out and lay on the ground or better yet, in a ditch. I don't know if I can do that one. They also tell us to stay out of the shower and off the phone (unless it's a cell phone).

I hear they are doing another show on more of these fallacies. Maybe I should have waited to write this article.

What have you been doing wrong (regarding weather that is)?

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Pat


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