A while back, three generations of us were wandering around and we came to the old Matthews place—where Uncle Audie and Aunt Tezzie and Betty Jane and Loree and Zane lived before they moved off to Birmingham right before I went into the first grade.The house is not there; the little barn is not even there anymore. Daddy moved it across the new highway a few years ago to use as a general storage building.
There’s nothing to indicate a house was ever there except a few jonquils and narcissi that still come up every year and a couple of gnarled apple trees, and the storm cellar. The storm cellar was cut into the bank just right out from where the front porch of the house used to be. The cellar is not very big, but it was big enough for all of Uncle Audie’s family to get into whenever they felt the urge.
A lot of country houses used  to have storm cellars handy. Some were used quite often. For some reason, we never had one. It wasn’t, for goodness sake, that we weren’t afraid of storms, we certainly were; but we just weren’t that scared, I suppose. Every once in a while something would be said about how, maybe, we ought to dig one; but then it’d clear off, and we’d just never get started.
Besides, we usually felt as safe in the house as anywhere. Oh, there were a few times … . Once, I recollect, I was doing the “thangs”— milking, feeding, slopping. When I got all the milk old Fan had to offer and had started back to the house, I was struck by a blast of wind that stopped me dead in my tracks and started pushing me back towards the barn. I managed to get over behind the smokehouse (fortunately the wind wasn’t strong enough to blow it over on me) where I stayed until the wind had passed. Directly we discovered it had been strong enough to push the posts on the front porch a few feet east. We marvelled over that for a few days, but we still didn’t dig a storm cellar.
You better believe Grandma Boman had one, though. Yessirree.   And she used it, too. Regularly. It was kind of a cooperative cellar for them and for Uncle Jeff and Aunt Rama and their family just a little piece up the hill. Theirs was dug into the side of the public road bank., where the road sliced down the hill through the red clay on its way to Mt. Pisgah Church.
Back in those days there were just as many storms, but people weren’t as informed about them. There were no TV programs to be interrupted with weather bulletins. There were radio stations, but they were all far away in Memphis and Nashville and Birmingham and farther, and they didn’t give our weather except in a very general way. And the papers got there the next day, so any storm they warned about would have long since blown us away before we saw the paper. So you had a choice: to worry a lot about storms or not to worry much about them.
Grandma was a rather nervous, twittery type of person anyway, and she just plain, if the truth were known, enjoyed worrying about possible storms. And a cloud the size of a hand could appear in the wet and she’d start pacing, making sure there were no obstacles between her and the storm cellar.
But she wasn’t the only one by a long shot. My in-laws didn’t have a storm cellar but a neighbor did— a big one, kind of a community affair. The people in the neighborhood. looked for excuses to go to it. A prolonged spell of perfect weather would drive them daft. Once, shortly after my in-laws’ daughter was lucky enough to snare me, we were spending a night at their house, and a gentle spring rain began to fall. It was very pleasant. There was no lightening of any consequential proximity, no wind to speak of. I was rather enjoying it.
But I noticed how Frosty’s momma seemed nervous to a rather high degree. She kept looking and  walking and peering down toward the Edgeworths’. Finally,