Thursday, April 14, 2016

AtoZ of Melody McDonald: “L” is for Lightning #AtoZBlogging Challenge#

As everyone knows, it NEVER rains in Southern California, so when Melody and her Grandmother drove across the country in 1960, there was a new adventure. Of course, it’s not so that it never rains in Southern California, and Melody HAD seen lightning, of course, but her experience had been a somewhat watered-down version of what she experienced during her exciting vacation. The story below, though seemingly impossible, actually happened and Melody has never, ever forgotten it. I hope you enjoy the tale.


Melody, a few months after
 this story took place.
Around 1960


Basin, Wyoming Oug. 14, 1960

Dear Grampa,

I am having so much fun. Nauturly it rains every place we go. It thundered and lightninged all night long. I hope you like your card.

Love Melody


“Thunder and lightning” was minimizing the “fireworks display” that had gone on the night before. In fact, it was quite unlike anything that Melody had experienced before, and very exciting. The whole thing had begun while she was in the barn with Joe Sterling, in Wyoming, helping him milk the cow. They had been standing in Bossy’s stall, while Joe was getting the stool ready to sit down and begin when the first loud crash had sounded just outside the door. The frightened Bossy kicked the stool over and just as Joe bent over to put it right a second crash set the barn to ringing; simultaneously, a long flash of light entered through the back door of the building and left it through the front. Old Joe stood up as quickly as his tired, surprised body would permit and stared down at Melody, eyes bulging with wonder.

“Melody,” he said in a somewhat strangled voice, “please tell me that you just saw what I just saw. Please,” he pleaded softly.

“Yeah, I saw it. What was it?” 

“That,” he whispered dramatically, reassured that he wasn’t imagining things and gesturing towards the open doors, “was a bolt of lightning. It’s a good thing,” he continued in a rather more normal voice, “we were here beside Bossy and not standing in the middle of the corridor. We’d’ve been a pile of ashes instead of standing here discussing what just happened.”

“Wow! You mean lightning like the stuff that flashes during a rainstorm? At home we just see it in the sky and it looks like a fork. Gee,” she said, shaking her head in wonder, “I didn’t know it could open doors like that and just walk through a barn. Neat! Do you think it will happen again? Just wait until I tell Gramma Mary; she won’t believe it.”

“You can just bet your boots she won’t believe it; nobody will believe that a bolt of lightning went right through here without burning up everything it touched. Mind you, it didn’t touch much except for the back door. Let’s go see if it left some kind of mark on the door so we can prove it went through here. We’d better not say anything if there’s not, ‘cause no one’s gonna believe anything except that we’ve been seeing things that aren’t really there, and that’s not too good.”

They both walked gingerly towards the door, taking care to not touch anything on the way; even though it seemed that the lightning hadn’t touched anything, there was always a chance that some kind of electrical current had been left behind. The first hint that they found that something odd had happened was that one of the doors to the barn was hanging slightly off-center because of a damaged hinge; this had been caused by the force produced by the lightning as it flung the door inward. There were a number of new dents, but these could have been caused by any number of factors found in and around the Black Angus farm.

“Nope, there’s nothing here except this hinge that will bear out our story. I guess we’d best not say anything to anyone. I won’t say anything if you don’t, and I won’t anyway, even if you do.”1


Have you ever had a strange experience during a thunder and lightning storm? Would you like to share it with us?


1The preceding is an excerpt from Old McDonald Had a Funny Farm 2: New Friends and Old by Mary McDowell Purpari, publication date pending


Copyright © April 14, 2016.  Mary Purpari. All Rights reserved.


  1. I love how you wrote this. You have a very strong voice.
    Melanie Schulz from

    1. Thank you, Melanie. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It's been so much fun writing for this year's challenge, because it helps me remember the fun times and experiences from my childhood. Melody is my alter-ego, and the times in which "we" grew up were magical!


I would really love to read your thoughts, so leave a comment so we can all converse. Thanks.