I suppose I've been a wee bit lax on the blogging lately, or so says my Aunt Linda who told me at church yesterday that I needed to blog. So, here I am, putting pen to paper, or words to the computer screen as the case may be. What else is one to do when she is under the threat of severe storms and tornadoes? I have musings from the weekend to share with you; but, I've just now decided to share tornado stories instead because it just feels like the right thing to do.
I shall first begin with my youth because growing up in Alabama, I've been dealing with tornadoes since I came into this world. I remember as a child when we were under the threat of a tornado warning that we would often be quarantined to the bathroom where, if I am remembering correctly, a mattress was sometimes pulled into the bathroom to be thrown on top of me and Justin should the tornado come close. There were also times when we took refuge at our church building and other times when we sought shelter from other church buildings in our community of Meridianville.
I've heard more than my fair share of tornado sirens. One of the most memorable times was when I was no more than 12 years old and was at church camp, sound asleep when we were woken by a man with a thick country accent hollering out, "The SI-REENS are going off, The SI-REENS are going off, get to the shelter!" Y'all we were in the middle of nowhere and we were in our pajamas (likely a t-shirt and shorts) and probably bare feet, hiking down a muddy slippery hill in the pouring rain and lighting trying to get to the shelter at one of the buildings on the camp ground. The rest of the night was spent in a dirty spider web infested shelter with some people crying and everyone scared. Our youth minister at the time made us all a button that said "I survived the tornado retreat" and it had the year which was 1980 something. I want to say 1987, which would make me 10, but I honestly can't remember. It could have been 1991 for all I know.
In November 1989, when I was 12, Huntsville was hit by a very bad tornado. It was a Wednesday night and I remember it like it was yesterday. The bad thing about this particular tornado was that a lot of people were driving home from work when it hit so there were people who were in cars instead of shelters and there were a lot of injuries and casualties and damage like I had never seen. The tornado hit on Airport Road in the Jones Valley area and I remember vividly being concerned about my Aunt Linda and Uncle Cecil who lived in that area of town. I was beyond relieved when I knew that they were okay. I remember this being the first time I had ever really been concerned that someone I know might be hurt by a tornado and was also the first time I remember being scared about the weather. I also remember that Marilyn Qualye (Dan's wife - he was Vice President at the time) came to town to survey the damage and the lover of politics in me just wanted to get a glimpse of the Veep's wife.
There have been many more tornadoes since that November evening. One of the most memorable, and probably the one that most makes me laugh and I will never forget, happened the summer of 1994 when I was 17. I was living with my Aunt Linda and Uncle Cecil and my cousin Chris and his wife Amy (who was pregnant) and their daughter Alexandra were living there too. We were a big happy family. One night, my boyfriend Matthew was over and we were upstairs shooting pool and listening to music when the weather got bad. The next thing I know, Aunt Linda has come upstairs and gathered all of us to come and sit in her closet which was also under the stairs. She called Matthew's parents to let them know he would not be coming home any time soon. I don't remember how long we sat in the closet but I do remember us all being in there laughing and it's something I will never forget.
Of course, there is also the tornado from 2010 that hit on my street which you can read about here. Then three years ago this past Sunday was the large tornado outbreak that caused us to be without power for a week. We've had a few other small incidents since then, but I think today has been the scariest since 2011. There have been lots of tornado outbreaks close by and apparently it is supposed to be like this for the rest of the night. So, please pray we will all stay safe and that the storms will pass over with little damage to our homes and our loved ones. Tornado season 2014 is upon us.