BRODY: The storm on a tin roof

Published 8:23 am Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Have you ever slept in a house with a tin roof and have a thunderstorm come up? Just a soft rain on the tin is really quite lovely. But if the wind howls and the rain becomes hail, to Granny Pete it became absolutely terrifying.

Once when we were visiting Naylor, Georgia, and Granny and Granddaddy Pete, the little brown shiny radio in their living room announced a bad storm was headed right for them.

I asked if I could sleep with Granny Pete when I heard the weather report. Six year olds don’t like night storms, especially if there’s a tin roof above them.

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As soon as it got dark, the two of us got into her bed and pulled up the covers to our necks and fell asleep. It wasn’t long before the rain started. It woke me up and I cupped my body into hers and felt safe that way.

Just as I was drifting off again, the hail began. Granny Pete then woke up. The noise was deafening, like being bombarded by 100 million metal objects falling from the sky onto our tin roof.

I grabbed for Granny Pete, but Lord help me, she was rolling her little body away from me and right off the bed. She was moaning and crying. With a hard thud, that lady was on the floor. Without even slowing down, she shot right under that bed.

I crawled to the edge and looking through the darkness I saw her all the way to the wall under there, which was as far as she could crawl. “Granny Pete, what are you doing under there?” I pouted feeling abandoned. “Please come out from there.”


With my head hanging off the edge I begged her to come out.


“Granny Pete the storm can’t hurt you in here!” I wailed.


I hopped off the bed and ran to Granddaddy Pete’s room and in a loud voice I said, “You better come with me. Granny Pete is under the bed scared out of her wits and won’t come out.”

Rubbing his eyes and a few other body parts Granddaddy Pete said, “Oh, good living grief. What’s wrong with that woman?” But then, adjusting his undershorts to stay up, he stomped into the room where Granny Pete was having a hissy fit as far under the bed as possible.

“Josie Peters you come out from that bed right this minute or I’ll pull you out! What do you mean scaring little Jean like this? Git!”


A few threats followed. While I was peeking around the doorway amazed at the turn of events, my Granddaddy Pete got down on the wood floor, stuck his long bare arm under the bed, grabbed hold of Granny Pete’s bare foot and with a word I can’t print in newspapers he gave a mighty yank.

That little lady — still shaking with fear of the storm — had no choice but to give up and let her flannel-clad body follow the yanked leg free from the safety of under the bed.

Then, with a surprise switch, her husband gently helped her to her feet, smoothed her white hair back from her tear-stained face and told her it was safe to go back to bed.

The whole thing was a bit much for a 6-year-old girl but pretty soon, Granddaddy Pete shuffled back to his bed and Granny Pete and I got back into her soft big bed.

It wasn’t long before the hail turned back to soft rain, the wind quit howling and began to whisper that there was nothing to fear. I wrapped my arms around her and I drifted off. I hoped I could always remember the night of the big storm on a South Georgia tin roof.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.