And the Thunder Rolls

d n english

And the thunder rolls

d n english

Last night as the storms were crossing South Jackson the thunder not only woke me up but stirred up childhood memories. 

First let you give you some family history as I was told as a child.

My Grandfather English being the oldest son brought his mother to live with him when she could no longer care for herself. So I had the privilege to get to know her. My Great aunts told me  since I was always at my grandparents’ house  I was by great grandmother’s side.Great grandmother wanted me to call her Pokni which in Choctaw meant grandmother

Let’s go back to the first story she told me since I had red hair or chestnut as Grandfather said. She had the same color hair and wanted to let me know where we got it. She also explained we came from a long line of healers and storytellers.

This is the story I was told while sitting by her side. She like me had gotten to know her Great Grandmother (Pokni). Pokni  started her life in what we know as Northern Mississippi living in her Choctaw tribe. Because her hair wasn’t like the other young girls she drew the attention of the French fur trader. It’s not known if she was traded or purchased out right. Either way she ended up the wife of the trader. He brought her back to his trading post where a church lady who helped run the post when the trader was gone took her under her wing and renamed her Mary. The lady taught her how to read, write, do her sums and dress.Since she really did not fit the look of an Indian she could pass. The sweet lady made sure the trader did right and married Mary. They lived a long and happy life having six children (4 daughters and 2 sons).  One of the daughters married a survivor and moved to what we know as North Carolina. It was not long until they moved back to the new area of Tennessee where my great grandmother’s mother was born. Great grandmother fell in love a young farmer married him and moved to West Tennessee. She and my Great grandfather English  raised their family in West Tennessee. Because my Pokni loved learning she sought out  her family, their history and their stories.  She passed her love for knowledge of their history to her children so they could pass it to their families.

That being said I come to the story I was told by Pokni on one very stormy night. Her best stories were about nature, the storms, the spirits of the woods and the shift shapers of the past.  (I will do a story on shift shapers later).

This night grandmother had taken me from my bedroom upstairs to the “fainting couch” in Pokni’s bedroom . I remember the storm was so strong the thunder seem to shake the house.

Pokni softly started the story 

“Do not be frightened.” She said I assured her I wasn’t she knew better.

“Mother Nature wants us to beware of her power. She brings the rain to water the earth the thunder, lightning and the wind to thin out the forest. Some say our ancestors are up in the heavens throwing rocks in a game and when they hit another rock the lightning lights up the sky. So do not be afraid just think of the fun they are having.”

Then she would start singing a song her Pokni had taught her in Choctaw that wished the night  be filled with happy dreams.

I remember that night and so many more days and nights filled with stories. 

When Pokni died my Great Aunt Dorthy and my Grandfather would answer my questions and tell me more stories of the past. 

To this day the storms do not scare me with their loud thunder and bright lightning. I send a prayer to my ancestors. 

Do not get me wrong I respect the storms of course.  I cannot help but wonder if our ancestors are disappointed with how we have treated Mother Earth. Maybe just maybe they are attempting to get our attention to do better and respect what we have.

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