Storm over Tawas Bay

There was one year, when I was a child, that we had an amazing amount of rain.  It got so bad that the storm drains backed up into the basements of all the houses in our neighborhood.  We were fortunate that it was just the storm drains and not something worse.  What was sad, though, was that we lost nearly all our Christmas decorations in that flood.  Up until that point my parents had stored them up high, but for some reason that particular year they had just set the boxes on the floor.   The water stood in our basement for at least a day, maybe more.

In my need to make my mother feel better over the mess in the basement and lack of electricity (did I forget to mention that?) I got it in my head that she HAD to listen to “Stormy Weather” played by none other than me at the organ.  Problem was, I didn’t know it that well.  So I sat at the organ in the living room and played that song over and over and over again.  Looking back, my mom had the patience of a saint.   I didn’t understand the words back then, heck I hardly know them now.  It was the melancholy tune and name that sold me.

Isn’t it funny what songs pop into your head when certain things happen in your life?  Strangely enough, even though we lost so much in that storm – I have fond memories of that song.  It makes me think of home.  Well… and of stormy weather.  The two aren’t really interrelated, although my mother was terrified of storms.   We didn’t have air conditioning when I was growing up, so the house was opened up all the time in the summer.  Many a night I would wake up to thunder and lightning and see my mother getting out of bed to go sit in the living room.  She would sit in the dark, smoking a cigarette, thinking who knows what.  I questioned my Dad about it when I got older, but he never did know why Mom was so terrified.  He told me that one night, shortly after they were married, he woke up in the middle of the night and noticed Mom wasn’t in bed.  It was thundering and lightening so he got up to check the windows.  He discovered her in the corner of the bedroom, curled into a ball, shaking like a leaf and crying.  He told me how he tenderly wrapped his arms around her – trying to make her feel safe.  I have always had a hard time reconciling that image with the person I knew as my mother.  She was a little fiery pistol – 5′ 2″, red hair, smoked, knew how to have good conversations, wouldn’t take nothing from nobody and if anyone messed with her children or her husband they would wish they had never lived.   I never did see my mother as weak, even after hearing that story.  We all have our fears, we all have our moments, and we all have those things that manifest in ways that are out of our control.

I had to look up the lyrics and was surprised at the words because I didn’t realize it was actually a love song – or a love gone wrong song.  As a kid, I always thought it was about bad weather.  Even so, following is Frank Sinatra’s version along with the lyrics.  It is rather fitting for my life at the moment because we are experiencing a great deal of rain and the threat of thunderstorms is high.  No, I don’t get up in the middle of the night and fret about the weather – I have always found storms to be glorious acts of nature; potentially destructive force that demands our respect.

Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather, since my gal and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time

Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, just can’t get my poor old self together
I’m weary all the time, the time, so weary all of the time

When she went away, the blues walked in and met me
If she stays away, old rocking chair gonna get me
All I do is pray, the lord above will let me
walk in the sun once more

Can’t go on, everything I had is gone
Stormy weather, since my gal and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time
Keeps raining all of the time

I walk around heavy-hearted and sad
Night comes around and I’m still feeling bad
Rain pourin’ down, blinding every hope I had
This pitter andd n patter and beating, spattering driving  me mad
Love, love, love, love, the misery will be the end of me

When she went away, the blues walked in and met me
If she stays away, old rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray, the lord above will let me
Walk in the sun once more

Can’t go on, everything I had is gone
Stormy weather, since my gal and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all the time, the time
Keeps raining all the time

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