Tuesday, 2 June 2015


Are you afraid of thunder storms? I know that many children are while some aren't. I was one of the latter group. As the lightning flashed and the thunder boomed, my sister Diane and I watched the storm through the living room window. The free entertainment gave us plenty of excitement as we pretended the angels were bowling.

I enjoyed thunder storms as a young adult. People said I was crazy to go out in that sort of weather and stand on the fire escape of the house to watch the action. I never was struck by lightning and I never feared it would hit me.

Of course my possessions didn't escape lightning damage. A small thunder cloud woke me up one summer morning. As I washed my hands in the bathroom, the house was shaken by a sudden clap of thunder. My alarm system started shrieking as I headed down stairs to shut it off.

Lightning had hit a nearby transformer, sending a pulse of high voltage through all the lines connected to it. The surge fried my alarm system, my stereo, and messed up a few computer monitors. Fortunately, my insurance covered a third of the damage.

While I still like thunder storms, I now switch off the main breakers to the house. I don't want a repeat of what happened. That stereo was a good one. Certainly it was much better than the cheap replacement I bought. Switching off the breakers won't protect me from a direct strike but it will impede any voltage surges induced or fed through the wires.

June and July are the stormiest months in central Alberta. I still enjoy watching the lightning and listening to the thunder roll across the prairie. It brings back memories of how Diane and I played outside until the rain began and then we watched the storm indoors.  Mom's fears of us getting zapped by lightning through the window never materialized. As long as I'm able, I'll continue to enjoy God's light show in the comfort of my home.

Thunder storms didn't get much mention in my three memoirs. But there was one strange occurrence when a single lightning bolt lit up the dorm room in March of 1969. I wrote of that in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. Check out that paperback at the Bruce Atchison's books page. My most recent book is up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.