A Bolt Out Of The Blue: Mourning A Man And A Myth Lightning struck twice in author Brad Meltzer's family — literally. In a piece dedicated to the memory of his father, he examines the familiar, and familial, tale of one fateful summer at Camp Na-sho-pa.
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A Bolt Out Of The Blue: Mourning A Man And A Myth

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A Bolt Out Of The Blue: Mourning A Man And A Myth

A Bolt Out Of The Blue: Mourning A Man And A Myth

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

For those of you who think the fantastic is the province of fiction writers, you might want to hear this. Brad Meltzer may be a novelist, but he has a story now that is as true as it is strange, even, dare we say, magical.

BRAD MELTZER: My father was struck by lightning. And so was his father, my grandfather. No joke. They were both actually struck by a flaming bolt of lightning from the sky. And when my father died a few months ago, I knew that this incredible detail had to be included in his eulogy, but as I started writing, a more vital question came up: Was the lightning story even true? For decades, we knew my grandfather was struck because he had the burns to prove it. But in my father's case, his lightning story was family lore.

NORRIS: That's what they were always told. When I pushed, they'd spit out the story that I'd heard since childhood, of my dad at Camp Na-sho-pa, in his bunk, and then a lightning bolt came from the sky and hit my father, who sank to the floor. They thought he was dead. They even put a sheet over his head. He was dead. And then, Stewie Meltzer sat up and blurted: What's everyone looking at?

NORRIS: I opened an email from a stranger named Stan, who told me that he heard my father had died, and that he was there on the day my dad was struck by lightning. Yes, he was hit by lightning at Na-sho-pa, Stan wrote to me. My father was entering the cabin, with his hand on the metal doorknob.

NORRIS: Lightning hit a nearby tree and a fraction of it could be seen splintering off into the knob, and it traveled through Stewie who went down. Right there, I felt the story's cobwebs being kicked away. From there, Stan confirmed the rest: that my father was carried to his bunk bed, and that, yes, someone had indeed yelled that my father was dead. He even added a key, long-lost detail: that as my father was hit by lightning, so was Stan, since his hand was on my father's shoulder.

NORRIS: a new piece of my father being given to me. Those pieces are precious, especially when you don't see them coming.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NORRIS: Brad Meltzer's latest novel is "The Inner Circle."

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