Contrary to our belief system that stated Trouble and I would be the only siblings tolerated in our family,
The Commandant mom and dad decided to throw another brother into the mix many
years after we'd both been honored as the residents who most inspired migraine
headaches... go figure.
it was summer time hot in august and mom was running wet laundry through the wringer when Tj (Trouble Junior) decided it was time to move himself into the sunlight.
Dad came home from work early to take mom to the hospital with his own mom in tow...
Grama B was to be our temporary
Hitler commandant for a week. (do not underestimate my hitler reference; though this woman wore a dress when she was not posing for photographs
in her new underwear, she was tougher than nails and frequently spit them amongst the descriptive words we were never allowed to use.)
Trouble and I decided we'd better behave. and behave very well.
and we did for the most part...
but there was this one day (isn't there always?) when we were entertaining John and Trouble's sister - whose mom and dad were visiting at the hospital with our mom and dad and the little brother named Tj that we'd still not seen - no doubt they were downloading orders into his head to avoid us at all costs....
anyway because we'd run through all the possibles; lighting fires with the magnifying glass, digging tiny holes to china with the lawn hose, sneaking off to the beach for a swim that we knew would come with a consequence we weren't certain we wanted
Grama B to dole out, we were busy counting blades of grass on the lawn
under the clothesline.
Grama B came out of the house in freshly washed hair that was wound into hundreds of tiny circles and bobby pinned tightly to her head in an effort to form fashionably soft curls once it was dry. she was carrying a basket to collect eggs from the hen house. on her way she wagged a boney finger at all of us; "I know you are up to something... the four of you! you had best behave or a storm will suddenly appear and lightning will strike you down!"
Lightning? HA! we weren't ascared of no lightning. Grama B yes. But lightning? not a chance... besides, the sky was gloriously blue...
Grama B disappeared into the hen house and we decided it might be fun to hold hands and chant around the big oak tree the clothesline was hung from just to see what we could conjure up. (hindsight is always 20/20 and though we did not realize it then, Grama B could not only see ghosts, she could see the future too!)
so there we were, the four of us, holding hands around the tree chanting random words and giggling until our sides hurt so much we would fall to the ground, lay there a while and then do it again. but suddenly out of nowhere Grama B was standing there beside us swearing like no woman in a dress should be able to swear. amidst the profanity we realized she was saying we needed to get in the house fast.
and then the words simply turned to; GDitALL!!!! RUN!!!!!!
as we ran the sky behind us looked like a big black blanket was being unrolled very fast. Grama B made it to the door before we did and just as she opened it huge drops of rain began to fall.
GET IN THE HOUSE! GET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM! AND FOR GODS SAKE STAY AWAY FROM THE WINDOWS!
so there we are all huddled in the center of the dining room in the sudden darkness listening to rain and debris hit the windows. the huge claps of thunder were so loud none of us dared to move or speak. and then Grama B quietly said; "I think we need to go into the basement now. I will go first but when i open that door you run down the steps and i will follow you."
we all agreed. we all held hands and followed a few steps behind her...
she made it as far as the kitchen when a huge clap of thunder rattled the house and was quickly followed by a lighting bolt that lit up the sky and the ground before it snapped and crackled and sent a huge ball of light and fire right through our screen door.
the ball of light and fire hit the floor next to the sink and began spinning like a top for what seemed an eternity... Gram B screamed like a little girl, told us not to move and then in one quick fluid moment crossed the room, grabbed the broom, swept the ball of fire back out the door, dropped the broom and yanked out every last one of the 2004 metal bobby pins she had just placed in her hair and threw them on the floor. we then proceeded with the plan to go into the basement. where we huddled in the north west corner until the darkness was gone.
once it was, but for the massive pile of bobby pins on the floor, we found no signs that the lightning had ever come into the house....
outside was an entirely different story. there was debris everywhere and the huge oak tree that we had just been circling had been shattered into millions of splinters - some of which had gone directly through other trees in the yard as well as produce in our garden.
wow! we kept saying, for lack of any other vocabulary to describe what it was we were seeing....
and as we stood there amongst the splinters at the bottom of a jagged stump in awe, Grama B stood us all in a line, waggled her boney finger and said;
I WARNED YOU BUT YOU ABOUT THAT LIGHTNING DIDN'T I? NEXT TIME YOU HAD BETTER LISTEN!!
Trouble swallowed hard trying to blink back fear. Trouble's sister started to cry. John stood quietly squeezing my hand while trying to look as innocent as he could....
and me.... i tried very hard to remember exactly what words we had used in that circling chant because i knew i never wanted to use them again.... EVER!
Tj came home crying the next day.
the day after that Trouble and i started reprogramming him.
and we knew he learned very well the day the first real words he had ever spoken were explicative's...
but that's a whole other story....