I called my brother Kris.
I called him from inside my car, where I had rushed, covering my head with my hands. My hair had just been rebrushed for band practice, but was now polka-dotted with hailstones sporting nickel-sized diameters and Saturnesque rings of frosty air.
Anneli was crying from the backseat, since big sister had just slyly commented, “You know, you can die from hail.” I thought wryly that big sister must not be familiar with the term “fratricide”, either. My thoughts were quickly muted as another lightning strike flashed and the wails from the back seat increased in intensity, only to be met with an equal crescendo of the rapidly firing hail against our already cracked windshield.
We were heading out to band practice thirty minutes away, toward the Cascade Foothills, but our area had been struck by a sudden thunderstorm with hail that did not hail from a typical Pacific Northwest sky.
Our hilly street was already covered an inch thick with this marvel and I was trying to make a quick decision despite the unusually high audio input about whether to risk the trip to band. My experience with hail was that hailstorms are short, and leave tiny adorably popping kernels of delight bouncing around the ground for a few seconds, then melting before you can make a dumb pun about Hail to the Chief. Certainly no inconvenience is ever caused, let alone any true danger.
This was different.
So…I called the brother that knows everything. ( I have a few of these brothers running around, but I picked the Pennsylvania pilot one with a minor in meteorology.) I thought he could give us a tip. Within seconds, he had determined the direction the storm cell was moving, how fast, what street in Puyallup it was heading toward, and whether we would be driving toward or away from the storm if we ventured to band practice. Without being bossy, he gave a few ideas, but at the end, he hesitated and said, “You know….the fact that you called….”, leaving me to fill in the rest of his thought. Which basically answered my question and reminded me of what I’ve been hearing at work. If we are not certain, we should not proceed.
In the meantime, the girls had rid themselves of all their concerns about lightning hitting the house and striking directly on the bunny. Uncle Kris calmly reminded them that Snickers is a lop-eared bunny, and therefore was at much less risk (since the ears weren’t standing up to create a more likely conduit for electricity.) I commented that this was why we chose lops. Then under my breath suggested that maybe this was how Snickers became a lop in the first place. Quickly we moved on to thanks and goodbyes. The girls made hail balls, which they kissed and tossed to Grandpa in heaven, and we went inside, made fudge and hot cocoa, and safely went to bed.
I was glad I called.