California Girl Meets Tornado

Storms are the topic of interest in my life right now. Let’s talk about storms!

When I was 15 I remember visiting some friends while on a family vacation in Kansas. (That sentence is kinda funny all in itself. Yes, my family took a vacation in Kansas. Is that normal?) They were a sweet older couple, very grandparent-like and had lived in the Midwest for ages. They fed us a yummy dinner and the husband told stories from his childhood in Nazi Germany. He talked all about how his parents disagreed with the way the government was forcing children into Hitler’s youth program so they asked their doctor to write a note excusing him from attending. He told about how he had to walk through a field even though it was peppered with landmines as he and his mom were escaping somewhere on foot. (Dang memory – I wish I remember all of it word for word! But alas.) His stories were pretty crazy and awesome in a “you lived through that!?” kind of way.

Anyway, that night they set me up in a little guest room all my own while my parents and brothers shared a great-room down in the basement. I felt totally spoiled. Then there was a huge and horrible storm in the night, the likes of which I’d never met with before and I didn’t feel spoiled anymore. I was in a strange house and a strange room all by myself in the dead of night. It thundered so loud I remember trying to plug my ears and hum to myself to drown it out. I don’t think I slept much that night because I remember it all so clearly a whole decade later! So that was Notable Storm #1.

Only a couple years later I was on a mission trip for hurricane Katrina Relief in Biloxi, Mississippi. Our group stayed in a concrete bunker-type place that was owned by the Salvation Army so we were more or less sheltered from anything too scary. One night as our youth pastor was praying after our daily debrief he said something along the lines of “Lord, the storm tonight is an awesome reminder of your power…” and then a harrowing explosion of thunder erupted overhead and we all opened our eyes and laughed while secretly feeling a little shaken (or was that just me?). Notable Storm #2.

Okay so this could get long and obnoxious and I really shouldn’t talk about every big storm I’ve ever encountered, but here’s one more before I get to the good stuff: ┬áit was last summer! Michael and I were engaged and he had moved far far away to the land of Kentucky while I was back in California planning our wedding and working full-time. I flew out to visit him one weekend in mid-July and we planned to spend every stinking minute of that weekend together! There was a severe thunderstorm on the first night of my visit and we spent hours just sitting on the living room floor talking, nervous-laughing and trying hard not to worry about the fact that we had no freaking idea what we should do if a tornado hit. The lighting and thunder was so constant it basically looked like daylight outside. Agh! I think of this as THE STORM the holy grail of storms I’ve lived through. All storms hereafter shall be compared to this. Notable Storm #3.

Which brings us right up to last Friday. Good Friday! It was a pretty low-key day, Michael had a three day weekend and we were happily snatching some much needed rest and quality time. I went grocery shopping and he was able to have a phone conversation with his good friend back in California – life was normal! We happily sauntered off to a Mexican food place for dinner. (Michael had the most delicious beef burrito on the face of this earth! I’m proud that I only snitched one bite!) On the way home, we knew something was brewing in the heavens because we saw some awe-inspiring flashes of lighting followed by it’s noisy friend, thunder. Also our iPhones told us there was a storm – thanks weather app!

Unrelated: a fat possum jumped right in front of our car. Ack!

We arrived home just as the tornado sirens began blaring. My very first tornado siren. The real kind – not the test kind. I ran around grabbing everything we could possibly want to have with us for however long we had to hunker down. Laden with random items – my purse, my bible, my computer, my book, my sunglasses(?), my cell phone charger, my chap-stick – the engineer and I booked it down the hall and set up camp in our guest bathroom for an hour. hahahahaha yep, that’s our storm shelter. There was much nervous bouncing of the legs, much texting with sympathetically freaked out California friends, much listening to the weather radio, and much praying. Mostly for the sake of keeping the brain busy and heart from attacking. Notable Storm #4.

Well anyway. The storm passed, we survived. We didn’t like it. The end!

All storm imagery for this post brought to you by this post on smosh.com.

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