My wife always used to tell me she liked the sound of far-off thunder, calling it soothing and kind of romantic.
After a wild thunderstorm the other night, I think she may have changed her opinion.
We were sound asleep about 4 a.m. Monday when an extremely intense lightning storm moved over our neighborhood.
A sharp crack of thunder, followed by a long rumble woke me up first. My wife came to a few moments later.
Then it hit.
An incredibly bright flash illuminated our bedroom, followed almost immediately by what sounded like a bomb going off.
The concussion was almost deafening, and the rumble that followed shook the walls and rattled the windows for at least 15 seconds.
We were still reeling from that experience when another, slightly less explosive thunderclap buzzed the house less than two minutes later.
Needless to say, we didn’t go back to sleep for a while. In fact, it took my wife almost three hours before she was calm enough to doze off.
We weren’t the only ones who heard it. Our neighbors about four blocks away chimed in when my wife posted about our experience on Facebook.
As nearly as we can tell, the lightning must have hit something within a half-mile of our house. And what a bolt it must have been.
As lots of folks will tell you, lightning is nothing to mess with.
A retired friend of ours who lives about 1½ miles from us had all the electronics in his house fried when his home was struck by lightning last month.
My editor saw a duplex near her home catch fire after it was hit a couple of weeks ago.
Prior to becoming a teacher, my wife’s dad was an insurance claims adjuster, and he had plenty of tales about lightning strikes that took their toll on homes.
But lightning doesn’t just zap your home’s roof or chimney when it strikes. Lightning can strike you if you’re standing near an outlet, it can be conducted through running water coming out of a sink or shower. It can even come out of a light fixture on occasion.
And it doesn’t even need to make a direct hit. My boss told me about an incident years ago when lightning hit a tree outside his family’s house, then bounced off and set his bed on fire.
I believe I’d still be having nightmares about that one.
When it’s storming outside, my wife doesn’t let me put up my umbrella, out of concern the metal frame will be an inviting target for a stray bolt.
Believe me, as many bad jokes and questionable comments as I’ve made over the years, I’m probably a prime candidate to get zapped, so it’s a good idea not to take any chances, I guess.
I remember one time, many years ago, I was walking across a parking lot downtown near the old Killeen Daily Herald building when a lightning bolt hit something nearby. The blast sounded like a firecracker going off a few feet away — and like any brave, young guy, I hit the deck.
A few seconds later, I stood back up and brushed the gravel off my pants — relieved that I was still intact, though I couldn’t say the same about my dignity.
Needless to say, both my wife and I are ready for this latest round of lightning and thunder to end, along with all the unusually wet weather.
I know I should be careful what I wish for, but it would be nice to have a normal Texas summer of sunny skies and hot temperatures.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see so much as a light shower between now and Labor Day.
But if a little dry spell means we won’t hear any more thunderclaps for a couple of months, you won’t hear me or my wife complaining.
Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion for the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7543