Betsy’s Corner: Goodness Gracious – Great Balls of Lightning!

Back in 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis released a song that sold a million albums in 10 days and ultimately sold over five million copies! This popular song has been stuck in my mind for the past few days…”You shatter my nerves and you rattle my brain…” that is how I feel after the huge thunder storms we have been having lately.

Living in a beautiful older neighborhood around here can have its drawbacks. The tall trees around here are targets for lightning bolts. Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! Last Tuesday night a ball of lightning splintered a tree in our neighborhood and ended up in someone’s living room! I had never heard of this phenomenon before. This is an unexplained and possibly dangerous atmospheric electrical occurrence. Some have used the term St. Elmo’s fire – but I thought that was a movie I missed from the 1980s. Look it up on Wikipedia. Electrical storms cause damage!

Why are there so many thunderstorms lately? Is it climate change? Why so many nasty storms with lots of smashing, crashing and thumping? Is it the symptom of a very hot humid summer? Is there anything we can do about this warming trend? Luckily our fire department came immediately to check out the smoke inside the house near the tall tree that was damaged.

In my recent call to the new Tree Warden named Jason Scott, he explained that he took his position only a few short weeks ago. Since joining our town as an employee, he has taken on new responsibilities. Last week, a tree fell on a house roof on Woodside Drive and punctured it, and a house fire displaced a resident after thunder and lightning struck. The tree warden has been busy lately and will continue to work hard to care for our trees.

Several trees inside Bliss Park had reached their full height and became unstable. Many were removed back in June to make the trails and paths safer for walkers and their pets. How old is too old for a tree? Remember we are a “Tree City USA” and known for our local school celebrations every Spring Arbor Day. What can be done with the old dangerous trees? Well, look outside and check out your yards and tree belts. What do you see? I see damaged and sick trees and even a skinny dead tree on the tree belt of Ellington Street. Report those trees that need attention to the DPW. We even have a Tree Committee that meets monthly to discuss important arbor issues.

I love trees and always think of myself as a true tree-hugger. Is this a wake-up call? The thunderstorm scared me! What if a tree fell on my house? Our dog certainly was on edge with all the cracking and loud thumps.

When I was little, my grandmother told me that “little men were bowling in heaven,” oh how I wish that was true! Bowling is less dangerous for sure. Lets hope lightning does not strike us again. As of this writing, our landline was still out, and the Internet modem was affected and finally replaced. Lou Christie sang a song about that! His 1966 hit called “Lightnin’ Strikes” is the old record I will be looking for at the next tag sale.

– By Betsy Huber Port