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 vulnerable...as 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.