Illinois Summer Storm, 1927

By Gil Masters and Sr.

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.

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