One of my favorite and most vivid memories of rainy season is from the summer of 1995. All of my friends had gone back to the States for the summer, so I was going through social detox. There must have been some sort of prescription drug shortage in our town that summer because I remember my dad often driving hither and yon to large pharmacies to pick up meds for the hospital where he worked. I would often ride with him and take a book. I’d sit in the car while he went in to see if the pharmacy had the meds he needed. We had a big blue van that year, the kind with the high roof. I would sit in the way back seat and watch the rain or read my book.
Now, our town in Nigeria is allegedly one of the most lightning-prone places in the world, so I’ve seen a lot of lightning in my lifetime. But as far as I know, lightning there is not a sign of coming tornadoes or hurricanes, or even necessarily high winds. So while I have a healthy fear of lightning in and of itself, I’m used to it. I know to unplug important appliances. and stay away from windows. But it doesn’t scare me as long as I’m being careful.
That’s today. That summer I was 13. One particular day, as I was sitting in the car, the lightning was just a little too close for comfort. I leapt out of the car and ran into the warehouse to join my dad and sit out the worst of the storm. Only later was I informed that a car is one of the safest places to be in a lightning storm. (Is this really true, Dad?)
But one of my favorite things was to sit in the way back on the drive home and put my arm (or my face if we weren’t on the main road) out the window into the streaming rain. The windows were the kind that manually slide open horizontally, so I could open it just enough to put my arm or my head out. There was nothing more exhilarating to me that summer than letting the wind and rain lash my face and hair as we drove along. Of course, once we reached the main road I’d have to bring my drenched head back into the van and be satisfied with sticking my hand out. But it was always fun while it lasted.
Thanks, Dad, for letting me tag along in those summer rains.
(Photo courtesy of Gary Payne: http://thepaynes.wordpress.com/page/10/#)