Long ago and far away, we lived on another farm on the other side of the county. My current farm is nestled up against the mountains and is surrounded on all sides by these wonderful land masses. However, the other was on the continental divide and, as such, was along the edge of the range just before it "fell off" to the "flatlands" below.
I loved the old house; a creek ran by it, just under my kitchen windows, and the spring house was still useable. Springs were around, under, and through the property. The land itself ran up a hollow and to an old log house far into the woods. Had it been for sale, it would have been my forever home. But the most interesting thing, by far, was how the springs seemed to "draw" the lightening to house in a storm.
We had been outside feeding late one afternoon, when a storm came running on the hollow quicker than a jack rabbit being chased by hounds.
"To the house!" I shouted to the children. "Now!"
Past experience taught that we'd be in the midst of a terrible storm within minutes, especially if there were lightening. We ran to the house and I settled the children down with a snack while I started dinner and washed up my milking supplies.
Crash! The lightening and rain started shooting around the house like fire crackers. The children screamed; I screamed; the dog crawled under the kitchen table. This continued for another three to four minutes and then, suddenly, stopped. The sky cleared and all was calm. Or so it seemed.
A few minutes later, the phone rang. My husband answered it, only to be knocked to the ground as the lightening ran into the line and out the receiver. The lights went out and the children began to scream: "Mama! Get him off! Mom! Dad's on me! Mom! Dad's dead!"
"No, I'm not," he whispered. "But, I need you to come here, please."
I felt my way to the living room, asking for directions from him as I stumbled. After what seemed like an hour, I found him. There was a definite smell of smoke and singed hair.
"Feel my arm," he whispered, his voice shaking, "I think the lightening blew my hand off."
This was definitely not the thing to say in a dark room with four children under ten. The screaming started again: "Mom! Where's Dad's hand? Mom! I think I feel it! Mom!!!"
Slowly, I ran my hand down his singed arm, taking a deep breath as I got to the wrist. The hand was still there. Just burned.
"We need help," I said. "The phone is out. I'll run to the fire department and get someone to come."
And off I ran in the driving rain and lightening, which had begun anew following the last lightening strike.
When I arrived at the fire department, a training session underway with 30 participants eagerly listening to their presenter. I flung the door open and gasped, "My husband has been struck by lightening! He's burned!"
In unison, they jumped up, ran to their cars, and followed me the five miles home.
In the meantime...
My husband realized he needed a, er, change of trousers and shorts. He'd gone to the bathroom, stripped off his soiled clothes and was trying to clean up a little while waiting for us to return. And we did. All 31 of us, thirty with bright, shining flashlights all aimed at waist level.
My husband came out of the bathroom, nekked from the waist down, and 30 flashlights shone on his, ummm, short comings. Bless his heart, he's been dead ten years now, but I can still see his face when he realized he was in the "light."
Mom was right. Never answer the phone in a lightening storm. No good can come of it.