Rhonda and I were lounging on
the front patio. In house plants were arranged outside, the cement clean and
the clutter of winter was gone. The birds singing must have given us a false
sense of serenity and security. There had been a rain with a heavy pelting
on the back tin roof but here under the grape vine arbor we were free from
the sound of the noisy overhang.
At about the same time, the
tornado siren went off the telephone rang.
“Mom, you had better get to
the center of the house, there's a tornado down on the ground close to you.”
My son was trying to warn me but tornadoes in Oklahoma have been such a life
time happening I never get too excited about them, so I paid little
“Oh well,” I'm thinking, “cry
We were outside so I was sure
I could see or hear it if the thing was close. Two cars rushed by the front
drive at racing speeds but I'm still not impressed. “I suppose they are off
to wherever that siren is sounding,” and these were my thoughts.
“There was a house leveled
over here about a mile from me.” My son's voice was insistent and he sounded
like he was more than a little thoughtful. Like water dripping through a
leaky roof, information started coming through via the telephone.
“Is everything all right with
your son and daughter? We heard there was a tornado close to you?” Someone I
didn't even know called. She told me her name and I did know her family. I
thought that was considerate but didn't worry too much about it. Tornadoes
are such a common occurrence why should I get overly excited.
“Oh, I am hearing reports,
but personally did not see anything.” I reasured the woman with the pleasant
voice that we were not been hit..
The next morning my daughter
and her little family walked up to the front patio where we were again
enjoying the outdoors.
“I took a video of the
tornado's destruction.” She seemed thoughtful but characteristic of the
Flood personality made not much of a comment. “It struck less than a block
“Oh really?” I was still not
that interested and it wasn't until the afternoon when we drove into town
did I get a full view of the damage. Sure enough just a little less than a
block from us it was like a giant weed eater had whipped through a stand of
trees. They were twisted and had been slammed in every direction. As if all
at once interested my husband turned right on the highway instead of left to
go into town.
A mile over, on Hunt Road
there were numbers of cars lined up in the drive way of what had been a
house and barn. Debris was scattered over the pasture as if some untidy
giant had dropped bits of his belongings in the field. Where the house had
been was as level as the lawn around it. We could see no sign of the barn.
The next day the paper said
the tornado had picked up three of the family, dropped them onto the road
and they were found walking together toward where their house had been.. I
would love to hear their account of that. Two other people had to be rescued
from the house.
“It looks to me like more
than one struck,” my husband commented.
Sure enough the paper told
actually two tornadoes had whipped back and forth over the area. It seemed
to me the thing had been playing checkers, dropping down on only square
objects, houses and sheds.
So then, what do we learn
from this? Absolutely nothing. A tornado is so unpredictable and never acts
the same way twice, like this one that was raging and tearing things up on
the hill across from me and I didn't even see it.
That loud, obnoxious siren
goes off every Thursday for testing. It sounds so much I am conditioned to
try to ignore the thing. To tell you the truth I thought they were testing
it again. After all, the sky had been bright and sunny with no black ominous
clouds as one might suspect.
The streets and roads were so
full of cars and people gawking at the misery of others we didn't dare get
out. Some did and could hardly get back to their home.
Rod, my husband, is talking
about an above ground shelter which would be the only way we could use one
with Rhonda, so maybe there will be a positive thing to come out of the day
of June 4, 2005.
The moral of the story could
well be, "when a warning comes and from so many different people, wise ones
take heed." Whether the warning comes via telephone, sirens, recordings of
video camera or actual visual experience in observation.