Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma Tornadoes

I grew up in Oklahoma. I can remember watching a movie about how tornadoes form when I was in 4th grade. It was a reel to reel in black and white.

I remember sitting in our hallway, listening to the radio, waiting for a tornado warning to pass. My dad, a fireman, mentioned that the old Indian lady that lived next door told him there had never been a tornado in our area, according to the folk lore of her tribe. According to them, the lay of the land just wasn't conducive to tornadoes. That day, my dad caught a black widow spider in a jar as we sat in the hallway.

When I was in 6th grade, I detested tornado drills because our safe place was the boys' bathroom. It was so stinky in there, and we had to kneel on the floor. It was disgusting.

When I was a teenager, we moved to another house, about 30 miles away. It had a storm cellar. We only went into it once. Why? Probably because it was full of spiders and we were afraid of being bitten. It certainly wasn't because tornadoes didn't happen in that area. My grandmother lived in a trailer about a mile from us. One day, a tornado went down her street. Had she stepped outside, she probably could have seen it. She was too busy canning green beans, though. She later said that if the Lord wanted to take her he could do so, otherwise she had work to do. It wasn't like she had anywhere to go, anyway.

I don't live in Oklahoma anymore, and I don't watch the news. I get almost all my news reports through Facebook. So, when I started getting messages and texts from family from around the country asking about my sister, I immediately called her. Apparently, I am the only person that was able to get through. When I talked to my mom a minute later, she had been unable to get in touch with my sister. Social media allowed me to be in touch with all my loved ones who were worried. We were able to communicate from afar and in mass.

All these many years later, two major tornadoes have take a similar path through Moore, OK. My sister lives there. Many of my loved ones live there. I grew up my with my brother-in-law's family, of which there are many members with young children. Yesterday's storm hit one of their houses, and the school of the same family. The mom, son, and daughter were at home, but although their house was flattened, they are all safe.

Today, my family has much to be thankful for. We grieve for the loss of so much life. I'm thankful that *only* 9 children in an elementary school died. I'm so incredibly thankful for all those tornado drill, and that they work.

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