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Pat Shingleton: "Lightning Karma..."

4 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Friday, May 01 2015 May 1, 2015 May 01, 2015 3:00 AM May 01, 2015 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingletpon

Recently I enjoyed dinner with one of my daughter Katie's entourage of friends. We were discussing the dangers of lightning.  Years ago, my Dad commented that he didn't understand why folks in South Louisiana headed indoors during a random late spring or summertime shower.  I explained to Dad that normal showers here can rapidly become severe thunderstorms including dangerous and deadly lightning strikes. I furthered that Florida is the state with the highest number of lightning hits and Louisiana is in the second position.  Let's return to dinner with Katie's friend, Becky Ewing, and lightning strikes that hit her hometown of New Roads and False River. I explained that open areas, such as lakes, rivers and waterways are attractants to lightning. Continuing our discussion and additional lightning stories, I shared with them that around 300 A.D. a father was so enraged when his daughter converted to Christianity, he beheaded her. Following the decapitation he was killed by lightning. His daughter was anointed Saint Barbara Dioscorus, the patron saint of lightning victims. British military officer, Major R. Summerford while on the battlefield in Flanders in February 1918, was knocked off his horse by a stroke of lightning, paralyzing him from the waist down. In 1924, while fishing with two friends, lightning hit him again, paralyzing his entire right side. In 1934 a third lightning strike hit him, leaving him permanently paralyzed. Two years later he died and was buried. Just after his internment, another bolt of lightning struck the cemetery destroying the tombstone of Major Summerford. Becky commented, "Was his nickname Lucky?" Katie laughed but I didn't think it was very funny...

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