You may have heard similar stories from your parents or grandparents – tales of walking miles in the snow to school, dodging tornadoes or hurricanes, slipping past landslides, cleaning up after floods, frying eggs on sidewalks or picking up hailstones the size of softballs. Family lore is often chockfull of weather-related stories.
For my family, I’m certain none of us will forget that December day that our two sons had complicated and difficult flights from opposite coasts in a mad dash to get to Des Moines for one last trip to Omaha to see their hospice-bound grandmother. Nor will we forget the harrowing drive in the worst storm of the season (so far) to spend 40 minutes with Grandma and celebrate their own mother’s birthday with a small cake in a tiny hospice room.
I’ll contribute a few other weather stories to the family archives, like the floods of 1993 that ironically left us without water for a week and forced my employer, The Des Moines Register, to set up a temporary newsroom in the suburbs and deliver printing plates by small plane to a sister paper 100 miles away so that we could produce and deliver the next day’s paper on time, less than 24 hours after the disaster struck.
Or of the times when my wife and I would escape the 100-degree-plus heat of our then-Central California home by driving a mere 50-60 miles west to Bodega Bay, where the Pacific Ocean waters were too cold to comfortably wade in and the temperature would be some 50 degrees cooler. Or our winter trips just above the snowline of the Sierra to make a snowball or two before turning around and escaping the white stuff.
However you choose to save your family’s weather stories, keep in mind another fact – these stories often change over time. You might want to save some proof for future generations.
Writing prompt for the day: What are your favorite weather-related family stories?
Photo: Bret Lehmer and his dog, Buster, survey the snow near their Maryland home. (B.D. Lehmer collection).