The sky grew dark, as dark as a sky can grow. Smart phones were looking at radar and the promise of a swim meet being swum was not bright. Rumors began that eighty-mile per hour winds were going to blow through the area. Some geographically challenged adults and children claimed a hurricane was on the way. (We are in Ohio, USA: The only hurricanes we see involve rum in tall glasses.)
A slight breeze began to blow across the parking lot and pool deck. Thunder boomed. Lightening flashed. The swim meet was cancelled. People scattered from the area. The wind grew stronger and the rain poured down. I tried to call home to have the wife tie down the trampoline, but there was no answer. The breeze turned into a fierce, howling wind forcing the rain to spray sideways. Lights flickered, then went dark.
The short drive home showed the power of the storm. Branches and whole trees were falling onto the road. Trashcans rolled across the streets like tumbleweeds in a ghost town. Visibility was reduced to a few feet. Signal lights were out, making me wonder if every other driver knew to treat the intersection as a four way stop. I pulled into the cul-de-sac and saw the trampoline tied to a tree in the neighbor’s front yard.
Apparently when I called, the family was securing all of the patio furniture. My wife was asking a neighbor what she should use to tie down the trampoline. My son Andy was collecting soccer balls and basketballs rolling on the road. My neighbor yelled back, “You don’t need to tie it down!” Within one minute the trampoline was flying toward Andy. Of all my children, it would be sling-shot-and-golf-ball-to-the-teeth-and-I-was-bitten-by-a-dog-bite son who would be bounced by a metal monster. Luckily, the neighbor’s tree stood brave and tall and never flinched as the trampoline slammed into it. Thus began the summer night without power.
Of course, we made the most of it. We had friends over for a party in the garage. Pizza from the one place open in town and salads and chips were a feast in our garage! After the storm, we moved into the open air. What an enjoyable time!
The freshman experience is all about new things. Being without power, yet being with friends is fun. No wonder my students enjoy “work” in class as long as they are with friends. How we react to what life throws (or blows) at us is what makes us who we are. My kids reacted with fun! Would you?