Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. Photos courtesy of Neil Harris. May 2017
“Chris, why are you leaving five minutes before our predicted lighting, thunder, and rain storms?” On May 4, 2017, I peered out at clouds that scarred the bright, warm, morning’s sunshine under their dark blankets.
Chris tucked his grocery list, his reminder for the Dollar Store, and city bus senior pass into his wind breaker, and hesitated when he opened the door. Silent, questioning time. “OH it’s not gonna rain. It’s been sunny and warm all morning.” He left.
We’d had almost 6 years of hauling umbrellas, advertising we are still newbies to Washington’s prerogative to make random decisions. This time was a poor decision—by Chris!
Large pelts of rain pounded vertically to the blasting drum beats and zaps of lighting’s thunder. I studied whether it was large hail. It wasn’t. Cars were getting a good bath…and probably Chris, too!
My turn for silent, questioning time. Sun peeked from under its blanket of cloud, but it played hide and seek for about 1 ½ hours. I had been settled down to my laptop watching through the patio window from my recliner. Darkness hovered over more than just the sun. Duh! It shrouded over us, too.
BOOM.BOOM.BOOM. The bass drums blasted. Lights flickered. “Dear Father in heaven,” I begged, “please take care of Chris.”
BRRING.BRRING. BRRING. Yelling: “Mary Jo, I’m getting off the city bus. Can’t talk anymore.” CLICK, buzz, buzz.
A never-even-close-in-history of record-keeping event put Lacey, WA, on national news. A rare microburst (not a tornado) demonstrated its power. Fifteen minutes into the epicenter, not rain pelts or buckets, but–as-far-as-I-could-see–solid water! I felt I was under water. I jerked away and protected my ears from banging branches flying horizontally, pounding our windows. “Oh, God, please bring Chris home safely!”
Lights out again. My trembling fingers located ON on our emergency flashlight.
I couldn’t see anything outside. I felt drowning under the sea. Water blinded window views despite the three-foot overhangs around our garden home. Water had never hit our windows or doors. What was happening? I prayed we’d be protected against the storms and floods we’d seen for months across the nation. We always speak of how safeguarded from disasters we are at Panorama.
THUD.THUD. THUD. “What’s that noise?” It out-pounded my palpitating heart.
The best sound of the day: Chris, loaded with groceries, banged the front door with his knee cap!
I yanked the door open. Rains and winds rushed their way into the house, while they shoved my drenched hubby over the threshold. He hugged his soaked, torn paper bags to keep parcels from spilling out: canned foods, box of powdered milk, baked chicken, bananas, and 20 bubble-lined envelopes for mailing my books.
No umbrella needed. It would have been another item to protect from the focal point of the worst thunderstorm in Lacey’s recorded history. We had weathered it!
We now avoid phrases containing, “Oh, it’s not gonna rain!”
Note: we praise God that all Panorama residents are safe and that we are fortunate only to watch the clean- up from grounds, to gutters and rooftops. We are blessed again. Thank you, Panorama!