Today, tornadoes touched down in four counties around us, the nearest being some twenty miles from us. Homes were destroyed, highways were blocked with debris, and, very sadly, atleast eight people killed (the death toll keeps climbing). I'll be praying for those families tonight. The footage of the damage is impressive.
As for us, we spent most of the late afternoon and early evening under a tornado warning. The only really worrisome moment was when the tornado sirens in town went off so we were gathering children and what pets we could snag in a hurry. Most of the kids were sitting in the little room we use for this occasion when the sirens went off and stayed off.
Gary and I looked at each other and waited.
Nothing. They never came back on.
Some genius thought it would be a good time to test the sirens.
We never assume we're immune to this kind of disaster (no one who lives in the Ozarks is), but we are in a sheltered situation between the mountains and the lake and because of our location, extreme weather tends to go around us. Still we try to think in terms of the what-ifs and try to plan for those. The boys know where to go and what they should and should not do if we're not home. And we hope we're doing enough by listening to the radio and watching the skies and let it go at that.
A few years ago, when Sam, my youngest, was about six, we were under a tornado watch. I gathered the boys and we talked about where to go and what to do in case of an actual warning. The older three were fairly matter-of-fact. Sam was immediately concerned. I did my best to allay his fears, pointing out that it wasn't likely we'd get hit, but it paid to be prepared and then went on with whatever I was doing.
Shortly after that I noted that Sam was trouping back and forth between his bedroom and the little room. I leaned around the corner to ask him what he was doing, but never got as far as opening my mouth.
He'd carried armloads of stuffed animals to the room and carefully lined them up against the walls. And when I say armloads, I mean easily two dozen fuzzy big and little teddy bears, Snoopys, a Barney, several stuffed dogs and cats, a monkey, a rhino, a snow leopard and numerous others. I watched as he stood back and studied his little family, quietly talking to them in assuring tones. He then trotted back to his room for a blanket and pillow and spread them out in a corner, then wandered off to play on the computer.
I think if a storm had come that day, Sam would have been the best prepared of all of us.