Illinois Summer Storm, 1927

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17424 Rock Creek Road , Nevada City, California 95959

We were threshing at the Zackery farm and hauling to the grain elevator at Orleans about 3 miles to the north. It was a miserable day for working in the fields. I would guess the temperature must have been close to the 90 degree mark and the humidity likewise.

We were running five box wagons and I had made one run just before noon. My turn came up again about 2 o'clock, and even as I had loaded and headed for the main road, I noticed a darkening sky out to the northwest. This was the direction from which all of our summer storms originated.

I had hardly gone halfway when I knew this was a real mean one in the making. The whole horizon was black as ink, and there was a sort of rolling cloud of grey near the ground. That meant wind. The lightning was spectacular, and I could hear the thunder quite loudly now; my team of horses was getting real spooky.

About now I was passing the main gate to the Dobbin's farm and I decided to try and find shelter, so I wheeled into their driveway.

My main concern was to keep my load of wheat dry. If it got wet, they wouldn't take it at the elevator. My team was by now about all I could handle, and I was scared to death of lightning.

No one seemed to be home, so I drove past the house and over to the main barn. There was an empty shed nearby and I backed my wagon in and unhitched the horses.

About that time all hell broke loose. The lightning was so intense you could almost feel it in the air. And then the wind was followed by rain so heavy you couldn't see across the driveway! It rained for almost an hour and then as quickly as it came, the storm passed.

Needless to say, the crew back at the thresher was quite concerned as to where I was, and when they could get out onto the road again I was nowhere to be found! Well, everything worked out okay. I hitched up and made it to the elevator about 4 o'clock, and with a perfectly dry load!

All in a day's work when you're a farm boy; I think I was 16 that year.