Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Veranda

I always liked the word-Veranda when used by the adults describing the screened-in front porch of the farmhouse. It was an elusive term; fancier than needed but it intrigued me; made me feel as if that farmhouse was a castle and my cousin and I were princesses-or something. We could have been whatever we chose for when pretending became part of the play-verandas or tree limbs or hayfields or rambling streams transformed into whatever it was that wo
rked into the script of the moment.

My most vivid memory of being on the veranda was far from the world of our imaginations. It was real. It was frightening and everytime I hear a clap of thunder and see a bolt of lightning sizzle the landscape I go back to that particular hot, summer night where we gathered together to watch it storm. Yes-watch it storm. My grandmother called us to join her as the wind began to pick up speed and little whirlwinds in the cinder driveway were whipping around like the warm-up-show of things to come.

And come they did-with my cousin and I on either side of this grandmother who had an adventurous flair about her despite her days so structured in chores and cooking and baking and caring and doing. With each jolt we dug in closer. With each electrifying flash that lit the yard up like spotlights we threw our hands over our eyes and wormed down farther into our chairs. And when the flash and the jolt combined into one huge, gigantic, earth-shaking crack my cousin and I shot to our feet and went screaming off that veranda-through the door leading to the front parlor and then straight into the coat closet under the stairway and slammed the door shut. It seemed like we were there for hours. We weren't for the storm soon drifted over the backfield-rumbling and grumbling all the way. Our grandmother sat straight through every act of that rambling storm. Something tells me her imagination was soaring that hot, summer night on the veranda.

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