Saturday, April 12, 2008

Listening to the Wind

I'm really ambivalent about this time of year. The in-between seasons of fall and spring offer so much of God's handiwork that is pleasing to the eye. Spring, as we all know, is an awakening. Buds bloom, leaves appear, and atrophied muscles twitch to life after a winter of neglect.

I love to flip the Lang calendar from March to April. But what I almost expect to see instead of blooming flowers is an angry, writhing funnel ripping houses off their foundations. It's true that tornadoes can come any month of the year, but we all know that prime-time for these nasty things is April, May, and June.

One of the more unforgettable days of my life was April 2, 1957. On that day, the deadliest twister in Dallas history carved a path from Singleton Blvd. to Love Field. I had finished throwing my paper route that day and was home watching "My Little Margie" on TV when they interrupted programming to alert us to the tornado. My Mom and I went to the far end of our back yard, looked west, and saw it. Mom was great. Her motherly instincts kicked in as she announced, "It's gonna hit our house!" Fortunately, we were miles away, but since a 9 year-old believes his momma, I was petrified for the rest of the day.

One day later, a local TV station put together a two-hour recap of the tornado. Much of the show was ground-breaking, since rarely if ever had cameramen gotten as close to the funnel as they had the day before. Much of the footage was shown in slow motion, and my impressionable brain was treated to cars flying, roofs sailing, and debris slicing through habitats. I had a bad nightmare that night, the first of hundreds of immensely terrifying tornado nightmares that have persisted to this day. I don't need to join a storm-chasing team to see these midwestern monsters - I just pillow my head and close my eyes for the night.

It's weird. When we lived in Dallas, I was rarely concerned about taking a direct hit from a tornado. Must have been the unfounded assumption that there was added protection from all the houses that surrounded us. Now that we live in the country and have open spaces around us, I suddenly feel more though the chance of a direct hit has suddenly escalated. Of course, this is silly...we were just as likely to be sliced and diced there as we are here...but the perception remains.

So, I hope I never have to take one of my grandchildren to the back fence, point to the sky, and repeat my mom's words. But I do hope the end result will be the same.


Brooke said...

That's where I get it from! I have tornado nightmares too! I told Michael the top 3 things I feared most as a kid were:
1) Robbers breaking in.
2) Tornadoes
3) Trains falling over on us

That third one was when I was really young. I only saw trains on tv when they overturned. I HATED being that first car at a railroad crossing as a train went by.

Tim Perkins said...

Gee, I never knew that about you! As for me, I'm getting antsy about driving under overpasses. Keep thinking a cement mixer is gonna pancake me and I won't have seen it coming.

Carole said...

Brooke, you couldn't help but have the nightmares, I guess, since I have them too! I wonder if your brothers do?
I remember stopping for trains when you were small. You'd turn your face into the back of your carseat and cry. I didn't know til much later (when you could talk) WHY you did that.
I have recurrent nightmares about trying to close the door on an intruder while he is pushing it in. Sometimes I can get it all the way shut, only to be unable to lock it. I always wake up at this point, thank goodness.

I am Heather...creator of all things crafty! said...

More pic's on my blog for you to critique. Heather

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