My husband grew up in Tornado alley in Mississippi in the 40's & 50's. I on the other hand, had only heard of them and their devastation, but not having TV to show us the disastrous things a tornado can do, I still did not know how fearful they can be.
We did have what my Dad called electrical storms, and believe me living in a cracker box, clapboard house there were times the wind and lightening could be scary. And we had no where to run.
One of my favorite stories was when we lived in what I refer to as the shanty. A clapboard house of 3 rooms until Daddy added a lean-to room later. It was in the days before electricity in our country side. The lamps were giving their soft glow casting shadows around the room as we came between the small light and the wall. Daddy had a way of forecasting the weather by looking toward the west where our weather usually came from.
The clouds were hanging low before the sun went down and was gaining a color of blackish/green. Daddy would say, "We are gonna have a storm tonight", and sure enough within a couple hours after dark, the skies lighted up with flashes of light as thunder rolled. Wind came in every crack of floor or window. The outside door to the added room, blew open as the wind rushed through the little house. There were five of us girls at that time, with a couple being below 6 years old. Daddy grabbed the little chrome eating table, shoved it against the door as he closed it, ordered us to get on the table to give it weight against the wind. With Daddy and Mamas help, we all held the table in place, the door stayed closed even though we could still see it trying to give to the wind. We, as children will, were whimpering when Daddy kept saying, "Oh everything is gonna be all right. It will pass. It will be over in a little while."
There was something about the way he said it that gave us confidence and we settled down. Daddy said everything would be OK. Daddy said, we would be safe. We were. The next day things were back to normal. We may have had to put buckets under the leaks in the ceiling; we may have had to move our bed out of the way of the leak, but by morning the storm had passed - and we were safe.
I wonder sometimes about my sense of fear. Or lack thereof. I don't seem to have any. I've traveled alone, faced new situations, very few times in my speaking and traveling years was I filled with butterflies. I walked around El Salvador by myself - away from my traveling buddies - not knowing the language - making pictures as I walked - did not have any sense of being close to trouble even though the country was in a civil war during my visit.
I give credit to my Dad who told me everything would be all right, and it was. So when all the major TV stations are a buzz with the tornado activity, I go about my business until I hear it is in my neck of the woods. Then I go find the
And this time we were. My heart does go out to those who are still picking up the pieces after their loss.