April 3rd…“AS A BOY, WHEN A STORM BLEW INTO YOUR AREA, WHAT MEASURES WERE TAKEN TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND FARM BUILDINGS?”
Black, convoluted clouds churned in the angry sky above our cowering farmyard in southern Minnesota. Indications pointed to the conclusion, in my little boy brain, that we were about to be targeted for the unleashing of another tumultuous thunderstorm. Like a protective mother’s arms, the treed windbreak that wrapped around our homeplace would take the first volleys of wind onslaught, but we, in respect of Heaven’s immense power, waited to see what the sky directly above us would generate.
The bulwark construction of our near century old farm house had withstood the soldier charge of many a storm through the decades and this scene was the precursor to yet another weather battle just ahead. This particular evening, though, the marvels of God especially captured the absolute awe of this tiny Norwegian lad.
After the milking of our Holstein dairy herd was completed for that evening, our farmer dad made his way to the family kitchen now that our cows, and other livestock, were safely bed down for the night. Now seemed an appropriate time to inquire of my father as to, “What are those pointy metal spears on top of the barn and our house for, Dad?” With loud thunder sounding in the background, Dad answered, “Those are lightning rods, Son. If a bolt of lightning flashes near any of our buildings or house, the rods actually attract the fire bolt and sends its charge of hot, electrical current through a metal cable and down into the ground. That way, hopefully, the heat of the lightning’s blast won’t set our barn or other buildings on fire.” YIKES!!!!! Now my infantile imagination REALLY kicked in!
Later, when darkness had captured all the shadows from our world, God’s cannons in the sky opened up their salvos and began bludgeoning our bastion of home and farmland. Independence Day fireworks could never hold a candle to the infinite power that detonated above our heads that fateful evening. Deafening charges of exploding thunder, in lethal decibels, caused concussions that shook our humble domicile relentlessly. Each blast from Heaven’s artillery resulted in causing the antique window panes of glass in my upstairs window to chatter and clank like the clattering, caliginous clamor of a cowardly knight in his loose suit of armor. This type of titanic terror was just too much for this timid, tiny tike!
I rocketed down those stairs, from my second story bedroom, like a soldier in retreat and breathlessly entered the sanctuary of my parent’s bedroom. With petrified earnest, my tiny boy voice begged Mother to allow me to find solace between her and Dad in their bed. With an understanding heart, Mom lifted my tiny being over herself and placed me within the blanketed fortress of temporary protection between she and our strong progenitor. Dad, on the other hand, was not as sympathetic of this mini-intruder, who, in his opinion, needed to learn to endure the havoc of Heaven that was a Summer normality for living in Minnesota. But for me, on that shattering night, being in the sheltered and quilted protection of my mater and pater was THEE best place to be for this frightened little Norwegian Farmer’s Son.