That Tornado’s Gonna Miss Us, Or…Maybe Not

cordell tornado

Tornado that wiped out the eastern third of a small town near us in 2001

Why would anyone live in Southwestern Oklahoma?

Considering the monster F5 tornado that roared through Moore, Oklahoma, last week, some of y’all are probably scratching your heads and wondering, What is wrong with those crazy people? Why do they live where there’s a “God Have Mercy” season in a place called tornado alley?

As I write this, the wind is gusting to 37 mph, the air is hot and muggy, and a squall line has formed in the Texas panhandle, headed this way. We’ll be under a tornado watch until late tonight. I’ll start watching the sky and pacing here in a little bit then I’ll try to contact all the family to make sure they have a place to shelter in case things get ugly. I’ll probably call Gramps and command him to come home at some point. He tends to stay out way too long for my comfort. Then we’ll just say our prayers and see what happens. Hopefully, we’ll merely get some rain…and not 80 mph straight winds, large hail (ping pong ball size to softball size,) lightning strikes, or tornados.

The picture below is what we actually got later this day:

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Slowly rotating clouds over the home place and a tornado warning: Take cover. Now.

The severe weather stayed west of us this time and I am thankful–although I always feel bad for the people who didn’t get off so lightly.

The Benefits of Living in Southwestern Oklahoma Far Outweigh the Drawbacks

Health

The benefits to living in rural Southwest Oklahoma during the “God Have Mercy” season often outweigh the drawbacks. For instance, at least once a year major panic attacks unclog our arteries. The blood pulses powerfully through our blood vessels like a type of roto-rooter while we stand on the porch praying for that ugly bugger to miss us, or we race through the hail trying to get underground somewhere. (Our cellar collapsed years ago. Replacing it is just one of those things we need to get done…next year.)

Strong relationships

We enjoy close relationships with our insurance agents as they help us replace our hail pocked roofs, our busted windshields, our metal barns, and the revenue from our wheat crops and even dead livestock sometimes.

Entertainment

Just because we live in a very rural county doesn’t mean we lack entertainment. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, two of my sons have been firemen and storm spotters since they turned eighteen. They and other dummies storm spotters go out in bad weather, driving around looking for danger in hopes of saving lives and strengthening their heart muscles with pure adrenalin shooting through their veins. Afterward, they go out scouting the storm damage. Once, Gramps and the boys found a Cessna airplane beat up by hail and landed on a muddy road in the middle of miles of wheat fields. They helped the pilot and his passenger push the little plane until it–like the phoenix…or, at least a turkey buzzard–rose again.

(Hey.That’s better by far than getting dragged off to the opera, or some other boring high-browed event.)

And finally, Oklahoma breeds just plain ol’, hard-down optimism

The young man in the following video of the Moore tornado reminds me of my boys. If it wasn’t for Okie guys (and a few girls) like them–standing on the rooftops and hills, chasing those rotating clouds through golf-ball-sized hail, driving into the twisty winds with their smart (?) phones set to video–the rest of the world would hardly know the happy optimism that keeps Okies living in Oklahoma.

God bless all y’all and enjoy Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver doin’ Hiding From the Storm Outside.

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like ’em.

Related Post: Stunned In Oklahoma
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Stunned In Oklahoma

BKyY7uoCMAEci9VGramps’ and my prayers are for the people of Oklahoma who have suffered loss from the tornados of the past several days. Many have lost loved ones, suffered injury, lost their sense of security, and are wandering around in shock. Possessions, livelihoods, livestock, pets, and many other things as yet unmissed are scattered all over city blocks and the countryside.

We also pray for the emergency personnel working to rescue survivors and retrieve the dead at the cost of their own safety, along with everyone else combing the neighborhoods–and farms–to help.

To anyone who hasn’t experienced tornado devastation: pictures and video don’t do it justice. I helped a friend sift through the rubble of her home in the 1999 Oklahoma City tornado. Tornados come with heavy downpours of rain and everything was soaked and plastered with mud. Anything paper was ruined. Fiberglass insulation from destroyed homes was stuck to everything. Nothing cloth could be salvaged because of the fiberglass, wood splinters, and glass shards in the fibers. By the time the neighborhoods were opened to the homeowners, the electricity had been off for a couple of days. Even if the refrigerator was still in the home, all the food was ruined. Canned goods had been slammed around and most of it was unsafe to eat. Almost nothing could be salvaged. Across her neighborhood, cars looked like wadded pieces of aluminum foil tossed into huge piles. Someone else’s entire roof filled her backyard. Her roof had disappeared. A clothesline pole had javelined into the ground with the crosspiece only two feet from the mud. The grass had twisted out of the ground. The tree limbs and bark had twisted off the trees. Many of the trees were completely uprooted.

I learned in that disaster the American Red Cross really do show up, as well as the Salvation Army. There are many other good organizations on the ground providing relief, too, but I have personal experience with what those two do in our times of mass disaster in Oklahoma. I feel anyone can donate to them and they’ll use the money for your intended purpose.

God bless all y’all, and Oklahoma, through this trying time.

An old 4 Him video, Where There Is Faith: