~ Maureen Brucker

Whether on horses or people, the plains

native depiction was a white round spot.

The Lakota attribute the weather phenomenon

to the 'wakinyan' or thunder beings. They are

the pervue of strong, powerful, solitary dreamers.

They inhabited the visions of warriors such as

Crazy Horse. They are definitely not for the faint of heart.

Whatever the origins, they certainly were active this year. They came in almost baseball sized chunks, reigning terror on Oglala, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In their wake, a number of houses were actually stripped of their siding. (It goes without saying that any repair assistance would be greatly appreciated.)

Here, in Greeley, we had 4-5 storms worth with the most serious producing golf ball sized hail. I live in west Greeley and we have related gardens in central Greeley. Thus, the drill is – when the hail starts here, as others are covering the garden, I am on the phone alerting those others 2-5 miles east of me that gardens need protection. Not a fool proof method. We lost more than we hoped this year, but better than nothing.

On the afternoon of August 7th, softball sized hail rained down on western Colorado Springs. Fourteen people were taken to the hospital. Over three thousand people were stranded at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. A duck and a vulture were killed by the hail. The event was actually reported in USA Today. People there are still putting their lives and property in order after the horrors of this storm. Pictures of the Colorado Springs storm can be found at – https://gazette.com/multimedia/photos-hail-damage-in-colorado-springs-area/collection_72c1674e-99c4-11e8-a6d6-b7532df097c8.html#9

The worst storm in my personal experience, occurred on June 22nd, several years ago. Two carloads of us were driving back from sun dance, in Hot Springs, South Dakota. We had actually made it back into Colorado when we ran into a storm just south of the Wyoming border. In short order, we were slowing while dealing with softball sized hail. Instinctively I knew that pulling over would result in a cracked windshield at the very least. Thus, I put my hazard lights on and proceeded cautiously through to the southern edge of the storm. My strategy worked. Neither my vehicle nor the one traveling with us suffered serious damage.

Amazing how a prayer and tobacco offering before a journey can provide such fine protection.

As hail season fades with the cooler weather, football season is now in full swing. Whether you support the Saints or the Bears, the Panthers or the Broncos, the Seahawks or the Browns, the rituals are remarkably similar. Game day, friends gather, whether in the stadium parking lot, that special parking location, or around the big screen at your house. Food and friends come together for the big game.

Consider remembering the Elders and children at such gatherings. Plan ahead. Decorate an old coffee can in team colors. Place it on the table with the food. Let people know the donations are to heat homes for the winter. Tell them the donations are handled by whispernthunder.org, a 501 c3 nonprofit. They can be winners through the donations, whether their team wins or loses on the field that day. Think how much you can collect over the season if the can goes to every game party you attend!

Money gathered now will keep families and elders warm this winter. It is never too early to get an event organized. The elders are depending on each and every one of you.

When each individual event is finished, go to www.whispernthunder.org. Click on the donate button and make that vital contribution.