Magic In The Storm
by Christopher De Vinck
condensed from Only The Heart Knows How to Find Them
as printed in the Readers Digest September 1995
The children were nearly asleep when the wind began to brush against
the tips of the oak trees. There was distant lightning and a sudden cool breeze
at the windows. My wife, Roe, sat on the living-room couch reading a book,
while I tried to decide if I should read, write or put out the garbage.
The thunder. The summer storm and the children roared out at the
"I'll check the kids, Roe." I climbed the dark stairwell as a quick blue
flash danced around me, I stepped into Karen's room first.
"Daddy, I'm scared." She wept as she held her knitted doll.
"That's okay, Karen. You can be afraid. Let's sit together and listen."
There were more bursts of light and aggressive thunderclaps to rattle
the windowpanes. That's when Michael dived into my lap. "Wow, that was a
loud one." he said.
Then my older son, David, stepped into Karen's room holding an open
book about weather. "Here, Dad, this will explain to Karen and Micky all
about thunder and lightning." David is always able to find helpful
information on his bookshelf.
I took the book from David and began reading aloud. We all looked at
the illustrations as the storm outside flashed and roared. Then Michael went
to the window and said, "Hey! Look what I found!"
What he'd found was the flooded street. During every major rainstorm
the street in front of our house floods - not enough to seep into the basement,
but just enough to impress a little boy. We all ran to the window, knelt and
looked outside as the sky lit up again and again.
As we turned toward the room, I was convinced that the storm was
nearly over, "Okay, everyone back to bed," I said.
Then BOOM! Even I jumped. "Okay, everyone in Mommy and
We all leaped on our queen-sized bed. David stretched out to my right,
Karen to my left and Michael on my stomach. As we lay there, I thought
about my grandmother and how much she disliked fireworks and
thunderstorms. She always said they reminded her of what it was like in
Belgium during World War II when the night sky was illuminated with the
flash of exploding bombs.
Karen suggested singing a song. "I've got one I'll teach you." I said.
What do you want
When you gotta eat somethin'
And it's gotta be sweet
And it's gotta be a lot
And you gotta have it now?
What do you want?
Ooooooo Cracker Jack!
Peanuts and a prize,
That's what you get in
We sang it again and again between the thunder and lightning.
"Peanuts and a prize," they shouted. FLASH! "That's what you get in Cracker
The summers of my past had the same storms. How could I possibly
guess that the summers of my future would include two little boys and a girl
pressing their heads against my chest?
When the storm passed, just as suddenly as it had begun, I announced,
"Okay, everyone to bed."
"Thank You, Daddy," Karen whispered as she kissed me good-night.
"Thanks for bringing the book," I said to David as I tucked him in.
After I carried Michael, asleep in my arms, to bed, I walked
downstairs. I could barely hear a waning roll of thunder. Roe looked up from
her book and said, "That was quite a storm."
"It sure was," I answered. "It sure was."