My grandmother, Odean Easley, is the Queen of Weather Conditions. I think if she had the education she could have easily been a meteorologist. Although due to her aversion for mixing electricity with any inclement weather, her live feeds would have been problematic.
Weather has always been a weird obsession with my grandmother. Any obscure climate change she would call and make sure I was prepared.
I would get calls like: “I heard about that hole in the sky.”
“Do you mean the ozone, Momo?”
“Yeah that's what they called it; you better wear a hat when you are out.”
Apparently baseball caps, aside from being fashionable, also protect you from radiation.
Or one of my favorite calls: "I heard about them ice caps melting; you better take up the rugs just to be on the safe side."
I love her.
But to really see her full meteorological majesty, you had to be there growing up when we were kids. She could sense any unusual shift in the weather. If a storm came up we were at code red. The weather ritual began!
I grew up in Texas, and it is known for its unpredictable summer storms.
I personally love to be outside before a storm comes, which drove her crazy. She was convinced that every storm had the Wizard of Oz potential for disaster. She would yell for us to get in the house. We were well trained and went into battle stations.
We reluctantly turned off the one window unit air-conditioner that kept us from spontaneously combusting in the Texas heat. Then all other electronic devices had to be unplugged, especially the television.
The story goes that a distant relative had lightning strike through the television because they were trying to disregard the ritual and watch a very compelling episode of “Young and the Restless.”
Next on the list was to place an open the Bible on the bed and turn to the 23rd Psalm, the official scripture for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and rockslides.
The phone would ring with various relatives trying to check in, but you could not talk on the phone, as that was a direct line to a lighting strike. You could also not talk during one of these weather drills. Because, according to my grandmother, the Lord was working and apparently our chatter about who cheated at old maid was too distracting.
So there we were sitting in the dark, sweating, silent, suffering with the telephone constantly ringing. I would beg to answer the phone, hoping someone would save us from the ritual. My logic was, how are we going to know if folks are OK if we don't pick up the phone?
Her response was that when we call after the storm and they answer then they were not struck by lightning. I did not agree, but she did have certain logic.
During a lull in the storm we were permitted to ask weather-related questions. I asked her once if the Bible was going to protect us from the tornado, shouldn't we be sitting on the bed? I thought I had found a weak link in her armor.
Her response: “You know it’s bad luck to sit on a made bed.
I stood corrected.
One storm lasted so long and the heat index rose to such levels that I threw myself on the door and said I would take my chances with the gale force winds. She threatened to beat my butt and I took my place back on the couch with my suffering sisters and cousin.
She will only call after the threat is over because, as concerned as she is, the expectation is, regardless of where we are, we are observing the weather ritual, so no communication until the threat has passed....lol.
Although I hated the weather rituals growing up, I must say we always made it through the storm. To this day if a storm comes up I will not get on my cell phone, due to her lightning warnings and her belief that cell phones will give you the ear cancer if used during a storm....smile.