Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lightning you say?

I was probably like most people in my knowledge of and thoughts about lightning until..... I was helping Johnny cut & load hay on a hot summer day when I was 15 ( 1957 ) down in the bottoms S/W of Sallisaw, OK. We he had just finished bailing & I was loading the next trailer load of bales when a sudden small "T" storm formed N/W of us & came barreling across the countryside straight at us. We threw a tarp over the bailer and crawled under it to stay dry. Johnny was sitting on the tongue & I, beening so smart of a teenager, was sitting on a roll of bailing wire. The bailer as higher than our heads, ....... right? So good to go.............. (not so much it turns out) The lightning was coming ahead of the rain & was walking Across the field in a zig-zag pattern & striking the ground every 200 feet or so. It was coming directly towards us. I was still not too concerned. The next thing I knew I was standing out in the rain & my back hurt like the dickens. I looked back & Johnny was stepping out through a large rip in the canvas, his eyes were as big as a cows.... What he told me: There was a loud crack, 4 fingers of lightning went into my back & I jumped right through the tarp. ( It was kinda old. ) There was several yellow places on my back for a few weeks. I seemed no crazier than normal that I noticed or anyone mentioned. The idea of gaining super powers was not 'a thing' yet in my world. I am not looking for strike #3........ What happened to #2? Well, here is the thing: Summer of 1977 I think. Wife of that time myself & two kids flew by Pvt. plane to Savannah, GA. where an ARMY buddy of mine had a Catalina 27' sailboat. I was very into sailing at that time. OK, lots of fun, lost of visiting, taking the boat out with just my family, anchoring at night, visits from the Coast Guard, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, .... One day We all sailed up to Hilton Head just for giggles & had a grand time. Met some friend of his who had A small yawl rigged sail boat that was going back to the same marina where our boat was docked. Off we sailed with them, sorta racing..... Going back, there came one of those fast moving "T"storms. The wind picked up to a right more than needed speed. We were down to bare poles, just running downwind with women & kids below, his GF & my three. As the rain front moved off the land lightning started striking in a pattern I had seen before. But this was double strikes, two at a time really close together but very definitely two separate strikes (I have never seen before or since)that were walking right at us. Rut Row !!! I was sitting near the hatch and Fred was standing in the end of the cockpit steering. I felt my hair go on alert & I heard the mast making a tinkling sound. The next thing I am aware of I was laying on the cockpit sole, on my back, looking at Fred's butt. How could it get much worse? I get up and go back to sitting & feeling rather the worse for the ware & Fred said I had a huge yellow spot on my back. ( Again, "Oh Yay!" ) He said a huge lightning bolt came out of the rigging and went into my back. On the way back after the storm had passed and all was well I said to Fred, "Boy, what an adventure that was." Fred replied, "Yeah, I was scared shiteless too." ( Later after we had left for home Fred went to go sailing and his boat was nearly sunk at the dock. It turns out the lightning had made a hole in the bottom that leaked slow enough so we did not notice before we left the boat that night. ( I wrote this because I could not find where I had posted these accounts on line years ago.)

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