I am from the North, and lived in the Mid-Atlantic for a number of years, so this whole concept of “severe weather” in the South is still new to me. For those the uninitiated, “severe weather” usually implies tornadoes. You know, those twisty things that can kill you and destroy everything you own? There is also “straight line winds”, hail, and severe thunder and lightening. These don’t scare me. But, have them mention the “t” word and they have my undivided attention.
I had no tornado experience until 2011, when a rather significant tornado crossed out lake. Lamar and I were in our basement safe room, so we were blissfully unaware just how close it came to us. I had to go to Montgomery that next morning. I noticed there was damage in the “don’t blink, you’ll miss it” town that is closest to us. But the weather reports mentioned that it came through that area, so I wasn’t that surprised. But I was very surprised when I went down the road and the pretty big garden center had disappeared. Gone, like it never existed, yet the houses 1,000 feet from there, were still there. Coming back from town a few hours later, I really took notice of the damage. A light bulb went on – the place that was supposed to be creating a headstone from my in-laws graves seemed to be right in the path. Went home and mentioned this to my husband and we decided to go have a look. And then I experienced the aftermath of the tornado. Nothing prepared me for it. Whole buildings – gone. Strong pine smell from all of the broken trees. A house destroyed while the house next door had barely any damage. All of it shocking. You know how you watch it on TV and you think you know what it is like? You don’t. Nothing prepares you for the reality. After you see it, you understand what they mean about the “force of Mother Nature”.
Well, we found the place that was making my in-laws headstone. We found the headstone, but everything else was destroyed. Hard to interest a man that has just lost his business – buildings and all – in your one headstone. It eventually got placed, but it took months. Even now, in 2016, I can see where the tornado went through, even though the debris has been cleared, buildings rebuilt and the trees are starting to grow back. So when the news breaks in and says there is a tornado warning, I am listening, hard. I won’t blow it off and if they tell me to get in my “safe place”, you know where you will find me.
Until next time, Elsie