Fear and Loathing in Lancaster, Part Two: The Wrath of God
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where today we continue our hair-raising account of a recent quick trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, better known as "Amish Country."
Chapter Two: God Gets Even with Cheeky Faerie
We all know that God Almighty is a very busy deity. But I feel like He does take an occasional break from his busy schedule, and when He does, He's always welcome in Lancaster County. Some of the people there love Him so much they still ride around in horse-drawn buggies, just to impress Him.
If you read yesterday's installment of TGAB, you will recall that my faerie, Puck, short-circuited a tent under which a wedding reception was occurring. You may also recall that the evening's weather was threatening.
So let's start there. My daughter The Heir and I were under a tent, at a wedding reception with 150 people we didn't know, and one bossy church lady looking for someone to order around. Puck had just managed to throw the whole affair into darkness -- for about 10 minutes. After that, things picked up again and all the usual cheesy wedding stuff commenced.
Something else commenced as well. Vicious-looking lightning strikes in the distance.
Are you a student of thunderstorms? I am. I've been fascinated by them since childhood. And when something fascinates you, you learn a lot about it.
I could see a whopper of a thunderstorm advancing on a wedding reception tent standing alone in a field, obviously gerry-rigged, electricity-wise. So I asked the Heir if she would mind leaving. She was quite ready to go.
It was my hope that I could outrun the whopping thunderstorm, if I could get a jump on it. We would be traveling east, about 80 miles from rural Lancaster County to New Jersey.
God got even with Puck. Big time.
The whopper storm hit us about 10 miles south of Ephrata, PA, and we drove in the midst of it all 80 miles back to Jersey. We're talking massive lightning strikes, booming thunder, and zero-visiblity rain. For 80 miles.
Recall that thunderstorms can move about 35-40 miles per hour. And that's the fastest I could drive in such a deluge. So Heir and I literally made a transit from Ephrata to Jersey in the midst of a severe thunderstorm.
I was never so scared in my life.
Philly has only one access/egress highway from the west. That would be the notorious Schuykill Expressway, lovingly dubbed "The Sure Kill Expressway" by the locals. It's bad enough driving that hair-raising stretch of road when you can see it. I was navigating it pretty much blind. Fortunately, everyone else on the road at the time was in the same boat. We all had to crawl, groping our way between lightning flare-ups.
Heir observed: "Mom, I will never have the nerve to do what you're doing right now."
I hope not, because it was stupid as hell.
The rain eased a little as we crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge from Pennsylvania to Jersey. But just as we entered the city limits of Snobville, the storm returned in full fury. Readers, the rain was pouring on the car so hard I didn't even recognize the street I've lived on for 22 years. I wasn't sure we'd actually found our way home!
When we did pull into the driveway, and my knuckles began to regain blood flow, I had to telephone Mr. Johnson inside to let him know we were home. The elements were literally so menacing that Heir and I opted to stay in the car.
More than 80 miles in a wild thunderstorm. Pennsylvania Turnpike, Sure Kill Expressway, Walt Whitman Bridge. All in the visibility you might get during a mild blizzard. Oh yeah. It was night time too. It took three hours to make a trip that usually takes 90 minutes or less.
The last thing I need is the Wrath of God on my case. I scolded that bad Puck yet again and confined him in the chiffarobe. He's still there.
Please don't blame Thor for this storm. Thor never visits Lancaster County. What would be the point?
Labels: navel gazing