Tongue-tied fingers

After see-sawing on my job satisfaction this week, I decided not to post anything at all yesterday. My mother always said that thing about not saying anything if you can’t say anything good. But, Daddy always said, “If it don’t fit, force it.” So, I’ll try to write something today. I’m not even sure what I’m about to write.

Here’s something…

One thing I miss about life in Missouri is that loud cackle that would rise out of KTTS County Radio in the waning summer months. We’d be out on our blacktopped driveways, playing horse or a violent game of Buffalo Basketball (somebody always came away quite injured) and that sound would squelch out of my dad’s radio. It was a combination of a WWII-era bomb alert and a wailing child who wants that slimy thing that just fell out of his crib. In short, we knew the ball game was about to be postponed.

The harsh KTTS waa-waaing was a harbinger of something violent, loud, angry, and uniquely Midwest. Soon, there would be a storm that would scare people on the southeastern coast underground. The sky would split open in brilliant blue light, the thunder would rattle the dishes in the cupboard, and the rain drops would fall sideways and sometimes upside down.

On a lot of those evenings, I’d sit with my dad and brother and watch the ominous wall clouds beat the horizon into submission. We watched for funnel clouds. We’d rather experience one of those than a funnel cake from the Ozark Empire Fair. Sometimes Brad, Gary, Alex and the other boys from the neighborhood would sit with us. We sometimes would move into the garage when the rain got too thick to see. If it got really violent (which by southeastern standards is defined as armageddon), we’d move into our little hallway and listen as our house struggled to maintain its roof. A few times we drove to the St. Johns Hospital parking garage. I’ll admit…a few times I got scared. And I miss that feeling a lot.

When my wife and I moved here we fell in love with the mountains. The autumn leaves, rolling hillsides, apple cider…they all gave us something new to appreciate about the world. We learned quickly, though, the mountains were a mean buffer. As those Midwestern storms rolled through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia they got discourged by the peaks and valleys. They gave up, turned into puny rainstorms and did nothing but make our grass grow faster.

But every once in while, those storms flip the middle storm finger to the mountains, barrel across, and beat us into submission.

Last night around midnight I saw the first lights break through my miniblinds. Usually the light peters out and the rain starts. I opened the windows anyway. The dog started barking at whatever she barks at when I open windows. And then it started. A beautiful cacophony of light, sound, wind, and rain. The dog shut up. In her three years on earth, she’s never seen anything like it. I figured she thought…whatever I’ve been barking at out there must be smart enough to move inside, so I’ll quit barking at it until this armageddon lets up.

My wife and I laid back in bed, the dog curled up on my wife’s legs and we fell asleep to it. When we woke up this morning, it felt like fall again. The sun was out, the leaves were falling, and the mountains were licking their wounds.

It probably won’t happen again for a year or so. But I wish it would. And I wish a radio station in this market would contact KTTS about getting that raid siren. I’d love to hear it again.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *