It’s Nights Like This I Wish We Had a Front Porch


We just had a thunderstorm pass through our neighborhood a few minutes ago, with heavy rain, strong winds, and lightning.

For whatever reason, thunderstorms have always fascinated me. I remember as a kid someone telling me that you can tell how far away a storm is by counting how many seconds it takes to hear the thunder after you see lightning. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but I still use it to judge how close the storm is. I know I could probably look-up something like that on Google, but I don’t want to ruin something I’ve believed in for 50 years!

I also remember taking the Kuder Occupational Career Interest survey in high school, and the results listed meteorologist at the top of the list for suggested careers. I followed up on that recommendation in college, or at least as much as I could. I was an Economics major, but there was an elective course in Meteorology, so I thought it would be the perfect elective. Well, as it turned out, it was the only “C” I got in college…

That humbling experience didn’t dampen my interest in the weather, in fact I gained a new respect for the all of the science behind weather patterns and predictions.

So it’s probably no surprise that I like watching the weather forecasts on TV, and I admit a certain bit of jealousy for the TV weather people; it seems like one of the greatest jobs you could have.

But I have two strikes against me if I ever wanted to pursue such a job.

First, if I struggled with an intro meteorology class, I can’t imagine how difficult an entire weather-based curriculum must be. I’ve actually checked out what it takes to earn the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) designation from the American Meteorological Society. If you look at the curriculum, you’ll quickly realize it’s no piece of cake.

And second, let’s face it, I don’t have a face that’s “TV weather guy” material.

So knowing all of this just makes me more jealous of TV meteorolists; not only are they good-looking, but they’re really smart as well. I know one of our local TV meteorologists graduated Phi Beta Kappa, earned her seal of approval from the American Meteorological Society, and has been chosen as best local weatherperson by a variety of publications. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also broken three hours for a marathon and finished in the top 10 for her age group in the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii.

However, despite all of my meteorological shortcomings, there is still an opportunity to play weatherman. One of the local TV stations has a program called the Eyewitness Weather Watcher Network that enables ordinary people to share their weather observations with the station. I was all set to complete the application, but then one of the questions asked me what type of weather equipment I had, and unfortunately I didn’t have any of the items they listed. Maybe it’s time to put an anemometer or a barometer on my Christmas wish list.

But even if I had some of that fancy equipment, I know I would still get most of my pleasure from just watching a storm pass us by. Ideally, I would be doing that from a front porch, but since we don’t have one, I usually end up just staring out the front door.

I remember when we were looking for our first house 29 years ago, my wife wanted two things in a house – a front porch and a fireplace. Alas, the house we bought, and have lived in for the past 29 years, has neither.

Perhaps when we retire we’ll find a house with a nice front porch (I don’t think we’ll need a fireplace where we hope to move to), and I can just sit out there with a cup of coffee and enjoy the moment.

And hopefully by then I’ll have figured out how to use my anemometer and barometer so that I can tell people what the weather’s really like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.