Cloister Commentary, Day 40: “Lightning Strikes!”

Almost every time we’ve walked the neighborhood, on our way over to or back from Parkade Park we stop and chat with our neighbor Kelly. She’s an educator like us, and yesterday we talked to her curb-to-window (COVID-style). We generally share how we’re making it, what’s frustrating us, and what we need (and need not) to be doing. Speaking of the latter, she’s been biking the Katy, and that inspired us to get out on one of our epic Old 63-to-Scott Boulevard hikes very soon.

We knew a storm was brewing, so when we returned from our walk, Nicole went out back to bring in the deck umbrella. The windows were open, and, standing in the kitchen, I heard a sizzling crackle, saw a quick flash, then heard a boom. My heart jumped into my throat, then I heard the umbrella fall to the deck and the back door swing open. Wide-eyed, Nicole appeared, eyes wide, a little pale, and uttering epithets. We are both grateful that lightning strike spared her.

I don’t know what your dog does during thunderstorms, but ours becomes angry and races through the house looking to attack every thunder-peal, so we enjoyed that for about an hour while trying to calm down after the near-electrocution. I think I’d rather he be scared.

The storm finally abated, and we spent a second straight night reading in the front room, with the windows open and listening to jazz (the full album I’m sharing below was a major highlight). What was I reading, you didn’t ask? If you happen to be seeking some good literature that springs from Missouri heritage; if you want to be both brutally enlightened and deliriously entertained; and if you want to experience one of the most inimitable voices in crime fiction, may I direct you to Jeff City-born Chester HimesHarlem Cycle of novels, which feature the laconic yet explosive detectives Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones? I finished Blind Man with a Gun last night and have only Plan B to go before I’ve read the whole nine-book Cycle. Himes is amazing. The titles you may have heard of are Cotton Comes to Harlem and A Rage in Harlem; they’re all very good, and pack a stiff volley of punches into 200 pages.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

Would you like to sample a classic hard-bop jazz album that’s near-equal parts lightning swingers and probing ballads? I knew that you would.

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