Last night, for the second day in a row, a tornado warning and emergency sirens interrupted our evening plans. A twister had been sited and was heading our way with 20 minutes to prepare. This time, we ran like scared chickens.
Our house sits on a hill, so we’re rather exposed; no, we’re really exposed. The ladies in our house were ready to flee, and we had three choices of refuge — under the house, down into a low creek bed with a large culvert or over to an matching culvert sitting in a field. I had a preference for under the house, but that didn’t seem to capture the imagination of the others. My youngest daughter, age 16, lobbied for the latter option of the culvert in the field. I trumped her with my age, experience and maleness, so we hopped in the truck and drove to the creek bed.
At the edge of the creekbed, we sat in the truck and watched. A giant, white cloud appeared above us tailing down to our right at about a 35 degree angle. “It looks like a butt,” Trese declared because near the top, where the cloud connected to the cloud bank, there was a long, dark “crack” in the cloud. More importantly it looked to be a broad funnel cloud. Abandon ship or, in this case, abandon truck. To the creek culvert.
As one might expect, and I knew in advance, there was water running a couple of inches deep in the creek bed. The problem with the culvert is that the water doesn’t flow through it; instead it flows around it with a pile of broken limbs at one end and mud in the bottom.
I did not anticipate the depth and stickiness of the mud. One of my daughters promptly lost a flip-flop in the muck and I did a hand-dive to retrieve it. About that time I also realized I had failed to shod myself properly. I had on the shoes I normally wear to work — nice Rockports. They couldn’t be seen in the mud. Our 16-year-old was the best prepared — fashionable, polka-dot galoshes.
The cloud stayed off the ground, but the lightening didn’t. More than once, my 16-year-old raised the point about us standing in watery mud beside a water-filled creek with lightening all around. The logic of her argument was unasailable.
Then a reenactment from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” occurred. Runaway, runaway. There was no killer bunny, but we didn’t want to be fried Fosters. Back in the truck for an escape to the other culvert.
I did risk life and limb for the family to open a metal gate in the midst of the electric funhouse, but no one said thanks. We waited out the storm at our new sanctuary — obviously the best choice all along.
No damage to us or our stuff. The only damage was to my fatherly ego. My 16-year-old daughter did the best thinking in the midst of the storm. Of course, that does make me feel really good in one sense; she’s going to do just fine on her own in a few years. I just hope the guy she’s with has the sense to listen to her. Or maybe I should say, I hope they both have the sense to listen to one another.