Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On the Ground

When I lived in Missouri “tornado on the ground” were words to chill my heart. My home, Terrapin Station, was right in Tornado Alley and May was the month when the twisters came through. I would leave the TV on all the time so I could hear the warning signal and rush in to watch the information on the storm’s path scroll across the screen.

When it was in LeCygne, Kansas, I put the leashes on the dogs and put the cats in their crates. When I heard Drexel, Archie or Butler, I would get out the Emergency Pack. Flashlight, water, transistor radio, cell phone, crossword puzzle, treats for the animals. I would crank the volume on the TV so I could hear it through the furnace grate while we huddled in the dugout basement.

Sometimes the storm would keep on a northern trajectory and Osceola would be spared. Once it touched down in Roscoe seven miles away, and I felt the force as it went over my house. Loud roaring noise, a deluge of rain, flying debris. Every year, some small town gets hit and the devastation for those residents is quite extensive. But…as is often the case…areas only a few miles away are untouched.

The animals and I are gone from there now. We live in a safer place where tornadoes are rare. Of course, if Mt. Hood erupts or the Columbia River floods, we might still need our Emergency Kit. Nevertheless, I still feel a shudder down my spine as I hear the national news coverage of tornadoes in the Midwest.


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