Friday, June 08, 2007

Like all good Okies

All day yesterday the weather forecasters were saying we'd have some really strong storms come evening. We watched the radar and as usual, it showed storms all around us, but our county was clear. Every county around us was under a tornado watch, but we remained boring. Then finally we were included in the watch, but the skies were clear. We put the kids to bed and watched a little patch of green on the radar off to the west of us. It was still nothing to get excited about.

The counties to the west of us were suddenly under a severe thunderstorm warning, which quickly turned into tornado warnings. I called Mom and Tater to tell them because I had a pretty good idea they weren't watching TV. They weren't. The meteorologists were breaking in more frequently because not only was there a storm in our neck of the woods, but SW Missouri was getting pummeled with storms and tornado warnings, too. I went outside and immediately came in and told Paul I had a bad feeling about things.

I had no sooner uttered that statement when the county directly to the west of us went under tornado warning. That's when I said, "We need to run to the 'fraidy hole." Paul didn't argue, just said, "Get the kids up. I'll put the truck in the barn. Close the windows." I called Tater and said we were on our way. Then I woke up three very cranky kids who all three whined, "But I'm tryyyyyying to sleeeeeeeep!" Then I said the magic wake-up word: Tornado. Those kids were up and dressed in no time. They had their Mimzys and were by the door. We ran for the van and drove to Fairland.

By the time we drove the 7 miles to Tater's house our county was under a tornado warning. Bub, who had been at his house, got there right after us and the men opened up the cellar. Paul had to turn on the sump pump to pump out a little standing water, turned on the light and in the meantime, Tater and I tried to get her kids up. Those Tater Tots were not taking kindly to being woke up at 11pm. Finally, we got them up, dressed and put all five kids in the cellar in lawn chairs. They weren't scared - they were counting slugs.

Then we adults did what all Okies are supposed to do in inclement weather - we stood in the yard and watched for the twister.

Several times we thought we saw a tail dipping down out of the clouds, but we could never be sure. We watched the lightning hit the ground, but all in all we were unimpressed with the lack of action. Tater went in the house to see what the radar was showing and she was no sooner in the house then suddenly, like someone had flipped a switch, the wind picked up and started blowing so hard that I couldn't hear Paul talking anymore. The adults then moved to the porch, closer to the cellar and the kids who were still counting slugs.

Finally, things died down and we brought the kids up above ground. It was like a yard party - all nine of us in lawn chairs on the back porch talking. Then the second storm moved in and the cloud-to-ground lightning got closer. One particular strike hit just across the fence in the field. Of course, the lightning is the dangerous thing, but we were unfazed by it. Until the thunder clap sounded and you've never seen nine people jump and run like we did. In fact, Tater was halfway in the house before she yelled, "Oh, the kids!" Kady had been sitting on my lap and I literally just stood up with her dangling under the arms and I was trying to walk with her a'danglin' there while pushing TotOne and Abby in the house.

And after that, we just hung out in the house and ate Pop Tarts.

Because we're Okies.

3 comments:

Mean Teacher said...

Then I said the magic wake-up word: Tornado. Those kids were up and dressed in no time.

That was always the magic word for me. I had an extreme fear of tornadoes when I was a kid, and I still do. Hurricanes are bad, and when I first moved down here I would get scared when one was hitting the cost, but after surviving Katrina I don't suppose I'll be afraid of those anymore. Tornadoes-- I'll always be scared of tornadoes.

Funny how they jump over places. I grew up near Memphis, and they used to tear through Arkansas, but then when the system would reach the river, everything seemed to die down, and then as it moved further east it would start affecting TN east of Memphis. We always got lucky. I thank the Great Mississippi for that.

Mean Teacher said...

I meant COAST, not COST.

Stewed Hamm said...

You just know that when they look back on all of this, they'll still be able to remember how many slugs they saw down there.
Good times... good times.