As a little girl I never found tornadoes scary. In fact they were a source of great excitement, testament to the fact that I never had a close enough call with one to become properly frightened. Tornado drills were a welcome interruption to school every spring, several times per season, and our family’s evening meals were frequently set against the backdrop of Gary England’s affable, in fact folksy weather reports and warnings. We had safety plans in place, of course, and my parents always made sure we were safe. But it was just a feature of life.
We grew up learning to recognize wall clouds, hail clouds, and that eerie yellow glow that our skies could adopt with just the right atmospheric changes. We smelled rain, we felt electricty, and we giggled while hiding from tornadoes in the innermost windowless room of the house. For us it was the utility room, and we always wore good shoes, just in case a tornado indeed struck and we had to walk around outside in sharp debris.
As an adult my feelings about tornado season are quite different. I have been through two formidable storms now, and several smaller ones, thankfully uninjured every time. But I have seen the overwhelming dangers as well as the merciless property damage that tornadoes can deliver. Even the best insurance coverage cannot make recovery painless. And of course the loss of life is a very real possibility.
Our hearts go out to the town of Joplin tonight as they buckle down to collect their families and rebuild after the devastating tornado yesterday. The suddenness and brutality of a strong storm like that will rattle your nerves for a very long time.
Kudos, Mom & Dad, for making sure we always felt safe during Oklahoma tornado season. We are so blessed!