Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Wind Began To Switch...

She brings you good news. Or haven't you heard?
When she fell out of Kansas, a miracle occurred.


It really was no miracle. What happened was
just this: The wind began to switch -- the house to pitch
And suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.
Just then, the witch -- to satisfy an itch --
Went flying on her broomstick thumbing for a hitch.

When Dorothy and Toto landed in Munchkinland squarely on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, the Munchkins naturally were curious as to how she happened to navigate her house to make such a strategic landing. Good Witch Glinda calls it a miracle but Dorothy explains that it was just happenstance due to a switching wind and the Wicked Witch's unfortunate decision to take her broomstick out for a spin at that precise moment. Last Saturday, the wind in Raleigh definitely switched but I was lucky and my house didn't pitch and no witches were harmed.

I had no idea that we were under a tornado warning. Concerned about my proclivity to spend Saturdays watching reruns of Criminal Minds, I decided to leave the television off and devote myself to organizing my pantry and other domestic chores. Instead of turning on the radio, I did my chores to Aretha, followed by some smooth notes by Leela James, tapped off by  some classic Linda Ronstadt.  

I was in my second sing-a-long with Linda, "Feeling better, now that we're through; feeling better since I'm over you..." when my sister called to suggest that I come over sooner rather than later because there was a storm on the way.  I live about a quarter of a mile from sister and her husband, Bob and travel to their home is less than five minutes. Besides, I distinctly recall that she did not mention the word "tornado." I finished my performance with Linda and decided to clean myself up a bit and change clothes. 

When I left the house, I did notice that the sky was really dark, the wind was blowing hard and my city-issued very large trashcan had blown all the way across the street in front of my neighbor's house and was lying on its side in the gutter. I started across the street to retrieve my wandering trash receptacle when my neighbor came out and sent her nine-year-old out to get the can for me. I thanked him for his assistance and had a brief exchange with his mom who no doubt thought that I was insane.

My concerned neighbor shouted above the wind, "You be careful out there!" Now I realize that the subtext was, "Are you fracking crazy? Where are you going? There's a tornado coming!"

However, my response was, "It is windy out but I'm just going around the corner to my sister's." (Codespeak for, I'm a crazy woman who has not bothered to listen to any news or weather reports all day.)

When I arrived at my sister Rhonda's house, she looked surprised to see me. She had assumed that I was barricaded in a closet or hallway hiding from the tornado after I didn't show up when she called me earlier.

"There's a tornado coming!"

"Really, is it coming here?"

The conversation was cut short because Bob announced that we all needed to get in the hallway where he had thoughtfully provided pillows and bed coverings. Bob has nesting instincts. Bob and Rhonda were babysitting for their 27-month-old grandson, Little D, and he thought that three grownups in the hallway with sheets, blankets, and pillows meant that it was play time.

I didn't see a tornado except on television the next day, but I heard it. There was a low hum beneath the sounds of the wind and rain that got louder and louder until it sounded like a loud freight train. It lasted for only a minute. The house shuddered a bit but then it was gone and all that was left was wind and rain. I heard later on the news that some areas had hail after the tornadoes had passed.

I was relieved after the storm that we were all okay as were our homes but I didn't realize how lucky we all were until I went outside. We live in a subdivision known as McKinley Mill and parts of the area were hit hard by the tornado. Houses were destroyed, roofs torn off, homes pushed off their foundations, serious destruction and it will take time to rebuild and repair. Our area didn't suffer any loss but there were deaths in other areas; the last that I heard, the death toll for the state is 24 lives lost.  

The loss of life and the severe property damage suffered by some overshadows minor inconveniences such as going without power for about 12 hours. The street that is shown in the video below, Serendipity, is perpendicular to the street that my sister and her husband live on; you can see the corner where the streets intersects from their front yard. There's nothing like realizing that disaster brushed its wings against your cheek, but passed you by, to make you really appreciate seeing the sun rise.


Sybil said...

Oh Sheria, It's at times like this that I wish I knew my geography better...I had no idea that the tornado was wrecking his will on you all...I am sooooooo glad that you and your Sister etc are safe. It must be such a frightening experience. (A bit like after a bombing during the war to come out of the air raid shelter and discover half of your street has just dissapeared)
I will certainly be thanking God for keeping you safe.
Have a wonderful Easter Sunday.
Love Sybil xx

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Glad that all are safe and no damage to your homes. Hi Bob :o)

warrior scout said...

Nance said...

Grippingly presented! That video is the most dramatic I've seen. The randomness of it all just leaves me flatfooted. So relieved that you were playing tents with Little D and all of you emerged safely.

And, forgive me, I can't help this: that dear lady who believed the Lord had been good to her? I wanted to dive through the video player and ask her why He'd been so bad to her neighbors.

tnlib said...

I'm so happy you and your family are safe and sound and that your homes weren't destroyed. But those other poor souls. How sad. I hate the sound of those sirens but somehow I can't keep from walking out my 1st floor apt. door and looking in the direction from which a tornado is likely to come. How's that for dumb?

The Brown Recluse said...

What an experience for you! I am terrified of bad weather...always have been. I'm glad you and yours are OK.

Mark said...

The first play I ever wrote (in 2nd grade) was called "The Tornado." You just about laid the script out there!
Now I'm on tornado watch for Tony in Tennessee. You guys will do anything for attention!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I'm so glad disaster passed you by.

Beth said...

I'm late to read this, but I was glad to see the FB update that you and your family were safe. It's shaping up to be a crazy spring!