Thunder Only Happens When They’re Bowling

A Memoir By Ingrid Wright

The air smelled like a mixture of orange flavored Jell-O and wet plastic lunch boxes. It was snack time and as a five-year-old, I remember that being a special time in my daily school routine.

Every day at 10 am, Miss Clements asked us to get our lunch boxes from the cubbies that were lined up along the wall of the classroom, and then to sit in a circle on the carpet covered floor. The circle that the twelve of us made was never a perfectly round shape. Each day I sat between two girls, because sitting next to a boy was annoying. They were messy and ate their snacks much too fast while talking with food in their mouths. Gross!

It had been raining all morning and the classroom windows were wet. I was mesmerized staring at the water running down them in tiny streams. The raindrops hitting the windows produced a steady rhythmic sound, reminding me of Grandpa who liked to rattle the loose change in his pants pockets whenever he was telling a story. It was still possible to hear the rain being blown against those windows, even though the indoor noise level from my classmates was starting to sound like a tree full of chattering monkeys at the zoo. 

Just as I was closing my lunchbox, a bright flash of light shot through the windows into our classroom casting an eerie ghost-like mask over all of us.  We collectively let out an uncontrollable gasp.  Within seconds the loud thunderclap followed, producing yet another gasp from all of us.

Miss Clements reassured us that we were safe. She explained that lightning was an electrical flash common during storms and said thunder was the sound that followed. 

“Why does it make that loud noise?” I asked.  

She touched my arm and answered, “The sound happens when angels in heaven are bowling!” 

“How do angels bowl when they have such big wings?” 

Sally was crying, so Miss Clements didn’t hear my last question.  I decided the angels must tuck their wings behind when it is their turn to bowl.

Decades later, I silently count the number of seconds between flashes of light and the deep rumbling to estimate how close a storm is because, as an adult, I still imagine that thunder only happens when angels are bowling in heaven.

                                                                       *   *   *


Along with building a very successful dental practice, Dr. Ingrid Wright has also enjoyed careers in modeling, and as an artist, author, and wedding officiant. Ingrid has been married for over 40 years and has recently received the title of “Grandma,” which she loves!

Leave a Reply