Gloria Garfunkel – Thunderstorms in South Dakota

Thunderstorms in South Dakota

The summer of our cross-country trip, west from Massachusetts to Yellowstone down Utah to Arizona, New Mexico and a quick drive home. Elder was six, younger was four, Mr. Brave and Mr. Misery.  We camped in the Badlands of South Dakota and noticed some flashes of light in the early evening. More and more intense, and then rain so hard it flooded our tent. Our sleeping bags were floating and we had to sleep in the car. Bolts of lightening. Booms of thunder.

“The rubber tires will keep our car from getting hit by lightening,” Dad reassured.

Mr. Misery said he nearly peed in his pants. He had always been terrified of thunder and lightening. The next morning was gorgeous. Birds so much more brightly colored than in the east. As we drove around the next day, people told us that was the nature of South Dakota weather in the summer: thunderstorms every twenty-four hours. Poor Mr. Misery. We thought the exposure would make him less scared. It only made him worse during the tornado warnings in the Black Hills where Rangers made us abandon our car for the cinderblock lady’s room. Mr. Brave told Mr. Misery Star Wars stories in the shower stall until the storm was over. Such a lucky boy to have such a good big brother to know exactly what he needed in a shelter in a storm.

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Gloria Garfunkel has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University and was a psychotherapist for thirty years. She has published almost forty stories in literary journals. She blogs at Querulous Squirrel Microfiction Daily.

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