A Tornado Tale

April ended with a common garden-variety tornado that danced its way through the better part of our county. When my weather radio (standard for the Midwest) alarm went off, I turned on the television to see what the radar picture would show. I’m a visual learner. The weatherman was giving me about 8 to 10 minutes to get my life in order. We don’t have a basement or a storm shelter. We just have a small bathroom in the back of the house where we rely on the tight construction to hold together and keep us safe to see another day. Actually, I was hoping we might get a little bump that would take off the roof so I could have it replaced with a new lifetime metal roof.  From the television it didn’t look like it was heading dead-on straight at us but it was close enough and the way they can bounce around, too close. I took up our 2 cats and a few things I didn’t want taken to the next county and stored them in the back bathroom. I then went out on the front porch and looked westward through the trees along our ridge, it was pitch black. The blackness moved northeast towards the end of our neighborhood and while it was taking out a neighbor’s house I could hear what sounded like a jet engine with the pilot’s foot all the way down on the gas pedal. It then continued to the next little town where it tore things up even more.

Now this tornado was said to have only been an EF-0 to an EF-1, not very big and certainly not anything that would get cast in a movie. But there it was, it completely demolished a house and took roofs off of others as it hiked through the hills leaving a path not unlike Godzilla.

I now have a newfound respect for what these “little” tornados can do. Yet in the back of my mind, I never thought I was so special that I could get a tornado right at my front door any more than believing Ed McMann would show up holding balloons and a Publisher Clearing House check, but I suppose it can happen. Nevertheless, I want to keep my perspective of doubt because it gives me a calm that is useful in times of extreme.

A while back I asked an old-timer what I should do in event of a tornado and no shelter. He told me to get in the bathtub and pull my wife on top of me and I should be OK. Well, that would have been fine if my wife were home but she was in CA missing all the fun just like she was during the historic ice storm of Feb. 09. So I figured if it looked real grim, I would go into the bathroom, shove my arm down the toilet all the way to my elbow and hang on. Then the worst that could happen would be my legs pulled skyward and my shoes and socks taken. Then if I continued to hang on, I would get my new metal roof…. Heck yeah, and a new pair of shoes too! 

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Published in: on May 16, 2010 at 6:11 am  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I could read a whole book full of just this stuff!! I loved it, keep writing, it makes me happy.

  2. great one again!!! thanks !!!

  3. Hell of a way to clean the toilet!!!!

  4. I liked the visual of you with your arm in the toilet and your legs being pulled upward…funny!

  5. Great article. My mom told me you were blogging. Keep it up man, good stuff. I was actually storm chasing with this veteran chaser a few days ago in OK. Tornados are pretty fascinating, glad to hear you made it! We’ll have to try again at the deer hunting this year too!

  6. Ok Dorthy-come back from Oz!

  7. Had a little dust devil go through the yard today and it sucked up some of my empty gromulch bags. I guess it is all about size.

  8. Loved this story! So interesting and different from the High Desert! Keep up the good writing and hang onto your toilet in times of trouble!

  9. I’m still laughing with the image of your bare feet flying upward…. I think you are the Ozark’s answer to Garrison Keillor

  10. Great story, but it brings back the memories of you having to eat in the bathtub when we were kids. Guess you should be glad that Mom didn’t make you hang on to the toilet instead! Your Sister

  11. Lynn, our cousin, has sent this to me a couple times and I’ve told HER how much I enjoyed it. After I broke out laughing at your tornado survival toilet technique, I figured it was time to get my own subscription. Write on, ‘cuz!


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