childs mind often seeks shelter from fear
fear from ridicule or failure
from the unknown.
a child, as soon as the dark clouds hooded the sun and the rumble
of distant thunder began to edge closer to the earth, my fear
began to inch its way into my body, creeping up my spine like
reading an excerpt from my novel, The Annie Chase Story,
my fear of thunderstorms once again brought back the shelter I
sought as a child.
get up kids, were going to be blown away any minute,
my mother screeched, going from window to window, wringing her
hands. This is a badun, a real badun.
little country town tried to hide in the dimples of the surrounding
hills, but summer storms found the square, white house, rattling
windows with thunder, taking the arms off giant trees. I imagined
the Tennessee River lapping at its banks, crawling up the hill
towards the house. Mama imagined it also as she went from room
to room with the new baby on her hip, calling out to all of us
kids. Get up and put on your clothes and get ready to meet
your Maker. Her fear of storms spilled over onto me. I followed
her from room to room, clutching the tail of her dress for comfort.
had this thing going with God and Grace during storms, moaning
loudly in a high, trembling voice, Lord, help us, save us
by your Grace. When the thunder finally rolled out of town
and the sky took its lightning back, Mamas words would always
quiet the churning fear in my stomach.
by Grace, she would announce.
liked Grace. In my childs mind, she was Gods wife.
I could see her clearly. Grace had long, kinky blonde hair, and
it was naturally curly so she never had to roll it up on rags.
Her eyes were the crystal blue color of my brothers agate
taw marble, and she could look straight through you and out the
other side. Grace wore huge white feathers as wings. They were
tipped in red so God could pick her out from the other angels.
Grace was forever busy saving people from storms.
I grew up, I lost my fear of storms, but each time a dark cloud
hoods the sun, and I hear a low rumble of thunder in the distance,
Grace returns, and she once again becomes Mrs. God to me.
Ridings Bennett is a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner.
Born in a small town in Tennessee, she moved to Oak Ridge, growing
up in a strange and secret town and era, she proclaims. She has
written a column titled "Life, Love and Laughter." Aileen
studied creative writing under Arizola Magnenat, a published author
and journalist. Her first novel, The Annie Chase Story,
was released in October, 2005 by Behler Publishing Company.
Aileen Ridings Bennett