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August 19, 2004
On occasion, during my recuperation, an eMo will be written by a guest columnist. Today's is by New York writer Nancy Mayer.

Scared out of my wits, I lay in a heap on the bedroom floor. It was 2:00am. Ten seconds ago I had been fast asleep in the comfort of my bed, snuggled safely under my blanket. A freak clap of thunder had exploded outside my window throwing me to the floor. It was the loudest boom I have ever heard. My first thought was that another terrorist attack was underway.

My grandmother grew up on a large farm in Queens. They raised small livestock, dairy cattle, and chickens for their own use. The vegetables and flowers were for sale. Twice a week, the farm hands would load up the horse drawn wagon. Twice a week, my great-grandfather would drive it 10 miles to market in New York City.

Storms on the farm could be very dangerous. It wasn’t uncommon for a bolt of lightening to set fire to a crop or strike a man dead.

The sudden appearance of dark clouds, a kick-up in the wind, the distant roar of thunder, a streak of light in the afternoon sky, any of these would send the men fleeing to my great-grandparents home.

There they would gather in the center hall: structurally the most secure place in the house. They’d sit on the floor, their backs against the wall. My grandmother and her siblings would pass out the prayer books. They were written in German. My great-grandmother would lead the prayers. Those who were literate: followed along. Those who were not: knew the prayers by heart.

It has been decades since anyone in my family prayed in German, but what the heck -- it has been decades since I was afraid of thunder.

Vater unser im Himmel,
Geheiligt werde dein Name.
Dein Reich komme.
Dein Wille geschehe, wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern.
Und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.
Denn Dein ist das Reich und die Kraft und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit. Amen.

Essay, Copyright 2004 Nancy Mayer
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