Jack and Sam: the Lightening Rods
When I was younger it was common to hear the saying, ‘He (or they) attract trouble like a lightening rod’. You don’t hear it so much any more, maybe lightening rods have gone out of style. I know trouble hasn’t.
Sam is my oldest son, and Jack was and is his buddy. They chummed together in school and out, through out their high school years. If there ever was a better prescription for trouble, I haven’t seen it yet. As a pair they certainly fit the bill of ‘lightening rods for trouble.
It wasn’t that they were bad boys, using or selling drugs or something. They rarely got into fights, and both were excellent students. But when they were together, things just seemed to happen. Like the time they went to deliver a load of wood for me and were rear ended by a Mack truck pulling a backhoe. Or the time they decided to spend the night camped out on Brown Mountain. When Sam asked if I could drop them off up on the mountain and pick them up the next day, it seemed like a reasonable request. Yet as a parent I had that queasy sense of unease that every parent experiences from time to time when dealing with teenagers. But what could I say? Sure, I told them, and drove them up the mountain.
How was I to know that a storm was brewing miles away and by the time it hit the Republic area would be one of worst we’ve had in 20 years. During that gale, hundreds of trees were knocked down and fires started every where, ignited by an artillery barrage of lightening bolts. I didn’t sleep a wink all night.
The next morning with my heart in my throat, I drove up to Brown Mountain, stopping to cut dozens of large trees out of the way that lay blocking the road. What is normally a 45 minute drive took me at least two hours, but I finally made it. What had happened to the boys? Had they been injured by falling trees? Trapped by the small brush fires? Suddenly I spotted them, hopping over fallen logs and running toward the truck. “How’d you make out” I yelled in relief as they approached the truck. With silly grins on their faces, they said,” Oh, wow, dad, you should have seen it, it was soooo cool! Yeah, man, totally awesome…”