Monday, May 12, 2008

Oklahoma Weather Is Not OK

If you watched the news this weekend, I'm sure you heard about the terrible devastation here in Oklahoma due to the recent tornadoes. Having grown up here, I have to say that the weather is crazy at times. We have a saying, "Don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change."

When I was a child, my dad had our house built on a hill. Instead of a garage, we had a carport constructed of thick concrete blocks. This was our refuse when the tornado sirens would start to howl. I remember standing out in the driveway looking up at the sky. There was an eerie calm in the air and the sky was always a weird shade of yellow. Our town is situated near a large hill range which we call Circle Mountain. There is an old Osage Indian legend that a tornado would come across the prairie, bounce off those hills and go back the way it came. I guess my dad always took that legend to heart, because he never seemed too worried as we stood in the driveway looking up at the sky.

At school, we would practice our tornado drills. Duck and Cover, it's called. We would kneel down in a fetal like position against the concrete block walls in the hallway. We had to cover our heads with our hands. How that was going to save us, I never could figure out. Usually I was next to my best friend and we would be trying not to giggle.

Once when a tornado did hit the edge of our town, it landed directly on top of a deli. There were stories of spaghetti noodles lodged into wooden beams, but not a single egg was broken. It did destroy our favorite local restaurant, Murphy's. The hole in the wall allowed some of the cigarette smoke to escape before they fix it. I guess that was a good thing.

I have really only experienced a tornado up close and personal once in my life. Austin and I were renting a small house and happened to live next to a police officer. My mom had left my house and called to tell me that the highway was blocked off and she was being told to pull over, get out of her car and climb up under a viaduct. Scary! I called next door and the police officer told me to grab Austin and take cover. I put Aus in the bathroom with our dog and threw a bunch of pillows and blankets on him. I remember running around the house looking for a radio, batteries and a flashlight. I was not the least bit prepared. It was then I heard the roar of the tornado. It honestly sounded like a freight train and it was loud. We were fine, but several trees where down in the neighborhood. I felt very lucky and decided that maybe standing in the driveway looking up at the sky isn't such a great idea.

Please keep those ravaged by the recent tornadoes in your thoughts.

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