Monday, September 28, 2015

how they ran

I was thinking about weather -- lately we've had, like, "Non-Weather."  Just quiet, and plain. 

No need to modify temperatures ("It's too cold! -- We have to turn on the heat!" -- "It's too hot! -- we have to turn on the air conditioning!"  The fan!  A sweater!) --

instead we can just..."be."  Even high winds have been curiously absent; it's like living in southern California, or someplace...

When I think of a "Weather Adventure" the following passage comes to mind:

---------------------- The "whoop" and hurrah!" with which school always let out for the term was somewhat spoiled for Tom and Caddie and Hetty.  How could one jump and shout with Warren still sitting uncomfortably on his bench waiting for Miss Parker to finish shaking hands with the parents? 

Besides, the storm which had been saving its fury all the morning was just beginning to break over the schoolhouse.  There were gusts of wind and rain and clap after clap of thunder with jagged streaks of lightning in the dark sky.  The children scattered for their homes more quickly and silently than usual....

But as they were starting home, all happily reunited, [Miss Parker] ran after them to say:  "Better come back and wait until the storm's over.  You've got a long ways to go."

"We can make it," called back Tom, cheerfully.  "Mother'll worry if we're late.  Good-by, Miss Parker."

"Good-by!  Good-by!  Good-by!" called the other three.

"Good-by!" called Miss Parker, "and you're nice children, all of you, even if Warren did disgrace me."

Before they had gone half a mile, the storm broke with all its strength.  Lightning and thunder crashed and flashed together in a perfect fury! 

Stunned by the force of it, the children ran for shelter under the great oak tree that marked the halfway point between home and school.  Its branches lashed and creaked, but it was something sturdy to cling to.  Caddie and Warren and Hetty clung together under the tree, but Tom urged them on.

"Let's get home," he shouted, "let's run for it."

"Oh, please let's wait here," begged the others.

"No!" cried Tom, "we've got to get home.  Come along every one of you."  When Tom made up his mind, the others followed him.  Shielding their faces, they dashed out of shelter and along the road.

Crash!  Bang!  There was a blinding flash and something hurled them onto the ground.  Dazed and crying, they picked themselves up and looked back.  The oak tree had been split in two by lightning.  Another moment under its shelter and all of them might have been killed.

How they ran that last half mile!  No one had ever run it so quickly before.  Even Hetty could not outstrip the others to be the first to tell.  Breathless and wild-eyed, with wet and muddy clothes, they rushed into the kitchen.

"Mother!" they shouted all together.  "Mother, listen to what happened to us!" ------------ [end excerpt]

{Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink.  The MacMillan Company, 1935.}


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