Last night, a large branch from a dead tree broke free of its confines and crashed to the ground, taking a power line with it, leaving 1,700 homes in the dark, and starting two small brush fires.
The fires were quickly extinguished (we heard the sirens only a few minutes after our house quit working), and power was back on a few hours later.
Our two small boys were in bed, but still awake, when their room went dark. They don't sleep well without the glow of their fish tank light, so I went in to comfort them and tell stories. We gathered together on Jonathan's bed and squirmed and squirmed until everyone was situated.
First, I told the story about how once when I was five years old eating apple seeds, their dad, my brother's childhood friend, had bellowed like a six-year-old, "If you eat the seeds of that apple then an apple tree is gonna grow inside yer stomach!!!"
Then I told the story about how their six-year-old dad had once bound me to a large tree trunk with orange twine.
Round about that time, as our continued squirming indicated that sleep was not to be had in the near future, I gave up, grabbed their comforters, and told them to follow me. We went out on our deck, which happened to be the most well-lit spot we could find, and curled up in our deck chairs, gazing with hushed awe at the nearly full moon and super bright stars, made all the more brilliant by the absence of man-made light sources anywhere nearby.
It was requested that I tell a 'made up' story, so next we heard about two little wolf cubs, Little Joe and Wolfy. They went hunting to find a special dinner for their dad, who was coming home from a trip. Along the way, they met a skunk, a lost neighboring wolf cub, a porcupine, a wildly hopping rabbit, and a laughing squirrel, the latter two of which became, respectively, dinner and dessert. In every encounter, Little Joe and Wolfy were adventuring heroes.
Also upon request, I relayed the story of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. They've not seen this movie (obviously, their being ages 4 and 6 and all), but they've seen the animated Lego Indiana Jones short online. So I even had help with my retelling: "Mom, you left out the part where she chases them through the jungle..."
Heartlessly denying further childlike demands for "more stories! more stories!" we opted to compromise with bedtime songs that *told* stories.
Brave Gideon had 300 men
The Midianites had a host
But Gideon had the Lord with him
And so he had the most
Gideon had the Lord!
Gideon had the Lord!
He won the fight with the Midianites
For Gideon had the Lord!
I left out the part where I toured Israel and visited the spot where that battle took place. Our tour guide, a professor from my college, made us all sing that song before rushing down a steep embankment with pretend drawn swords, yelling, in King James, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" Sure, it was a little hokey, but I've never forgotten it, which was, I believe, the point.
But don't worry. I will tell that part someday. It just would have been our fifth story. So next time.
After that, we sang:
There's gonna be
A floody, floody...
And finally, after a lengthy discussion about whether or not the Big Dipper was actually called the Big Dipper (said Mom and Dad) or the Drinking Gourd (said James and Jonathan, citing Reading Rainbow as their source), the boys were each carried off to bed on the super strong shoulders of their powerful daddy like sacks of potatoes, giggling all the way.
It was the most magical night of my life. Thank You, Abba.