Last Thursday, the town I live in experienced storms that would change many people's lives in a matter of just a few short minutes! Those monsters of nature knocked out our power for 73 of the LONGEST hours of my life. But those first 30 minutes were, by far, the worst, and had the most impact in my life!
What started out as a typical evening turned out to be not so typical after all! Shortly after finishing up our meal and clearing the table, I decided to run some quick errands, all of which would keep me within the same one square mile. Familiar territory, or so I thought.
First stop - the Avon lady (I love my Avon lady) just 7 short streets away! Yay for me! I was picking up a secret reward for the boys - Wii accessories they've been asking for since Christmas when they got their game system. And a bonus for me, new make up to make me feel better about myself now that I'm exercising and eat (mostly) healthy again. As I was leaving I heard a familiar sound, but just what it was did not register in this tired-all-the-time brain.
Next stop - my good deed for the day. Off to the brother-in-law's to deliver some meatloaf and mashed potato left-overs for his Friday lunch. Just as I pulled into his driveway, that all too familiar sound got louder... MUCH louder... MUCH MUCH LOUDER!!! Holy
The very first thought in my mind is get my boys in the basement!! The very reasons for my being were in harm's way! I just couldn't get home fast enough! The longest drive of my life... 2 streets over from where I was, about an eighth of a mile. It felt like I would NEVER get there! "God", I bargained, "if You get me home safe I'll do anything for You. Just let me hold onto my boys till the storm passes."
Made it home in just seconds. Just as the car pulled into the driveway, the waring sirens stopped. All clear! Thank God! I was so relieved I went in and kissed hubby and the boys. Thanking God all the while and thinking "Cool, I can finish up my errands and cross them off the list. Maybe I can even tackle a few other projects."
After a brief conversation with my husband, knowing that we were still under a tornado watch, I decided that I could make it to my niece's house and back -- less than 1 mile round trip -- BEFORE the rain came! No big deal! Right? The sirens stopped, we were just gonna get some rain.... Ummm, no.
Being a girl from the east coast, I've lived through my fair share of hurricanes. Piece of cake! Tornadoes however are horses of a TOTALLY different color! I was clueless what to expect when the tornado in question is about 5 miles from your house and headed in your direction. Boy was I blond that night!!
I made it to my niece's house just in time for the thunder and lightning to start. I traded her a cupcake carrier for some delicious peanut butter cookies and quickly hopped back in the car and headed for home. This time obeying the speed limit. After all, I had plenty of time, it wasn't raining yet and the thunder and lightning were still timed fairly far apart. We're ONLY gonna get rain. What's the big deal? Holy
crap shit! I was SO wrong!!
Just as I rounded the bend the sky turned an eerie shade of greenish-gray; the very same color of sky just like in The Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch released the flying monkeys to scoop up Dorothy and crew. Well, I thought, my babies are on the other side of the major road and I've got several more blocks to go.... I floored it all the way home, blowing through stop signs and a red light (luckily, there was no traffic at any of them). To hell with the speed limit, my babies are again in jeopardy!
Motherly adrenaline was working in over-drive! Made it home and into the basement with the rest of our family and we just held on for the bumpy ride. (Little did I know that when the power went out the second tornado was directly.over.my.house!) I kissed and hugged my children more that night more than I think I have kissed them in their entire lifetimes -- total -- combined.
When we emerged from the basement, Buddy, our six year old, looked out the front picture-window and asked why there was a tree in our usually vacant front yard. What?? We walked out on the porch, looked around and there were chunks of branches everywhere, the street was flooded and we were all in the dark. But all of us, our neighbors included, were safe and no one lost their lives, their belongings or their homes. We all learned the next day that two tornadoes blew through our neighborhood diagonally through the center. They were each over three miles wide and two and one-half football fields deep, F-1 category. We survived....
Moral of the story? My priorities were knocked out of line early that night thinking errands were more important than staying and protecting my family. It took two tornadoes skipping through my backyard (and 73 hours in the dark) to set them straight!