Anyone that knows me, really knows me, knows that I am afraid of tornadoes. Even as a child, I can recall having nightmares about tornadoes.
I once dressed up as Dorothy, ruby slippers and all. That does not mean I want to be blown away by a twister, off to see the wizard…I assure you.
My earliest recollections of tornadic activity take me back to the front porch of my grandma’s house. I was about 10. As the wind whipped, and the sirens blared– I tried to convince the rest of my family that we should go to the basement. Mortified, I went to the basement alone, as they remained outside watching the storm. Realizing I was alone down there, I eventually came back upstairs to join them. Thankfully, there was no tornado that day.
Another time, my family and I left our home in the middle of a heated storm to seek shelter at our neighbors. As the rain pelted us, my mom slipped in the mud. I grabbed her hand and pulled her along frantically. We made it to the basement. Luckily, there was no tornado that day either.
My children and I spent numerous episodes in the basement of our own home, waiting out the storm, waiting for the sirens to cease.
And irony would take a turn for the worst, when we were sent to Oklahoma as our first duty station with the army. Imagine the shock of everyone, including myself, when we found out we would be moving here. Yes, folks. I write to you from “tornado alley”. I live here.
But all those times I had been so lucky. Is that what causes the complacency? The middle of the street and front porch spectators? What IS wrong with these people???? Here I am, trying to keep it cool so my kids won’t freak out, yet I’m hunkered down in the “safe” room at a friends.
Did you know that about 1,200 tornadoes occur in the U.S each year. However, since tornado records only exist since 1950, the records are a little sketchy. Between 1990 and 2008 over 1,000 lives have been lost due to tornadoes.
Sorry folks, perhaps those are not striking enough statistics for you, but when the sirens start blaring, you will not catch me on the street gawking.