For several years during high school and college, Elijah worked at the local Farmers' Cooperative, more commonly referred to as the Co-op. Some of the time he was in and on top of the grain elevators, which were accessed with ladders and dangerous, grated "man-lift" elevators; in and out of boot pits, which had to been cleaned of all last year's rotting wheat before the new wheat could take its place; and in and out of storage bins, where the temperatures could reach 130 degrees, and frequently did. After harvest began every year, however, his job was to stand on top of these freight cars and direct the grain-filled, slanting spout to a trap door in their roofs. Cloudless days were trying, because of the unrelenting heat. Cloudy days were better, unless, of course a storm was brewing in the West. On one particular day, I watched the clouds roll in and listened to the storm warnings with trepidation. Knowing that the Co-op guys would work every minute until the storm actually hit--because grain is precious and the farmers were almost frantic about getting it into a dry place before the rain--I did what any self-respecting mom would do and called my son at work to make sure his supervisor would properly value his life. He was standing on top of the car, as usual.
"Don't worry, Mom", he said, "We see the storm coming. I'm sure we'll close down when it gets close."
Of course I didn't stop worrying. In fact, I worried more. Short of driving up there and demanding that they call off work, what could I do? Pray, of course. Doesn't every mom?
About thirty minutes later, the rain began to pour.
He called from the office.
"Hey, Mom, I almost got struck by lightning!"
"Are you ok?"
"Now I am, but it was pretty impressive. First this huge cloud came streaking in just like a bird flying over us. All of a sudden my head felt funny. I reached my hand over my head and felt that all my hair was standing straight up. So I turned loose of the spout and dropped flat to the roof of the car. Then I crawled to the edge and jumped off. It hit right behind me and the thunder was really loud."
"But you're ok now? You went inside, right?"
"Well, I crawled back up, raised the sheath on the spout, pushed it off and lowered the rope so they could put it back where it goes."
"Well, I couldn't leave it in the train like that. By that time it was pouring rain."
"Aw. Don't worry, Mom. I'm fine now."
"You're not going back up there in this?"
"No. We're just finishing up some things and I'll be home."
And he was.
And he doesn't understand why I worry so much.
It's a mom thing.