The Dark Day

By O’Ceallaigh –

Here in Florida we’ve had three days of overcast – gray days, threatening rain. The darkness, unusual for this time of year in the sunshine state, but….

We used to have a huge garden across the gravel road from our farm house in Western New York. Dad would plow this patch of ground and it was generally up to the three of us kids and Mom to “fit the ground” and then plant the seeds, water them keep the garden weeded and harvest the fruit.

Dad had the rest of the farm to run.

It was September 24, 1950. I was over in the garden soaking up the autumn sun. With my salt shaker in hand, I sat on the ground in the tomato patch. I would pick a tomato and lick the luscious red fruit – or vegetable – who cares! I wanted the skin to be moist so the salt would stick to it.

Growing tomatoes
On the moistened spot I would shake a little salt and bite into the delicious redness! It was so good! That day I had eaten about three of them when I heard Mom’s voice call. “Danny, you’d better come in now, the sky looks terrible! It might storm!”

My attention turned to the darkening sky. Somehow it was different than an approaching storm. It didn’t have the large thunderheads, the cumulous clouds that billow and roll. It was just getting dark.

It was 2:30 PM.

By the time I had walked from the garden, across the gravel road, through the hedge and across the lawn, it was looking even more ominous. I went inside.

I was 10 years old.

“Go out to the barn and get your father,” Mom told me. There was a deep concern in her voice. I’d never seen her quite so distraught.

I took a flashlight and went to the barn. There, the strangest sight met my eyes! There was my Dad, at the back door of the barn, looking at the sky. The herd of milk cows were coming up the lane and gathering in the barnyard to enter the barn to be milked. It was still only about 3:00 PM, and it was as dark as midnight. The sun was gone! There was no moon. Stars were completely occluded.

Dad brought the cows into the barn and put them in their stanchions. Then he went back to the rear door facing the west and looked at the sky again.

“…The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light…” he said under his breath! (Matthew 24:29)

I remembered reading about “The Dark Day” that occurred on May 19, 1780. The same out-of-the-ordinary things happened then, too. Even the chickens went to roost! I remembered, too, a poem by Whittier called “Abraham Davenport” that recounted in a rather whimsical/historical manner that very event! ( )

My aunt and uncle were on their way to our house from the city that afternoon and I was allowed, after pleading with my Mother, to go out by the gravel road and wait for them. With my trusty flashlight in hand, which was useless in the eerie darkness, I waited.

Finally I saw their car’s head lights as they turned the corner onto Maple Grove Road. Not the bright white lights we usually saw as they came, but dim, pale , yellow holes in the darkness inching closer until they stopped in front of our house.

There was talk in our house that evening about “end time events” and my saintly Uncle Frank took the very position that old Davenport took, saying, “Whether this portends the end and Jesus’ coming or not I cannot say but should He come I would wish to be found ready, in any event!”

With that they left in their car and went up the road to my grandmother’s house to spend the night

By the time “sunset” came, the sky was still totally black but at the western horizon there was a thin line of red where the blackness was beginning to lift.

We all had a rather meaningful family worship that night and went to bed, all sleeping soundly until morning.

The next day dawned clear and bright and the newspapers wrote stories about forest fires in Alberta or British Columbia, Canada that had put so much smoke into the air that it occluded the sun over the entire northeast from the Great Lakes to Maine and as far south as Tennessee!Dark Day

I don’t know what it was, but I don’t believe that for a minute. Why? Because lights could not penetrate that darkness and if that’s the case, the “smoke” would have to have been extremely low and heavy. And, if it was smoke and that low and that heavy, there would, undoubtedly, have been residue on surfaces at ground level.

There was none.

What I can tell you is this:

It was – A Dark Day!

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