Growing up, everybody knew the Indian legend about our town: tornadoes do not touch down where three rivers meet. Some people went on with scientific "facts" to back the legend, some just embellished the story. The important thing was, everyone knew it to be true. Or so we thought.
I don't know who turned the TV on today but as I was passing through the living room, Walker told me there was a bad storm heading our way. "Are we concerned?" I asked the boys. Nobody answered me. I watched the breaking news for a minute, then I asked the kids to put on their shoes. We got each of them a cold weather outfit and their prized possessions (Cubby's book and Squeak's stuffed dog) and loaded everything into a Rubbermaid tote. We got out the flashlights, extra batteries, and some food. Into the tote it went. Finally, we put a protesting Ernie into her crate and hauled everything down to the basement. I left the kids downstairs and went back up to get myself ready: shoes and socks, my cell phone, a sweatshirt. I was putting my meds into my pocket when Bro asked what I was doing. "The storm won't last more than an hour or so. You don't need those." I told him that if a tornado hit the house my meds would end up three towns away. I think that was the first time he really took it seriously. When the tornado sirens went off we went downstairs ourselves. I had to wonder, as I shut the basement door, if my home would be standing when I came back upstairs.
The kids did great during the storm. We made seats out of patio chair cushions, put blankets over ourselves, and waited. Walker brought down a radio, and at first all we got was a prerecorded loop telling us to take cover. Then they started updating. I was scared, but when we heard that there was a tornado in our town - and heading our way - well, that kind of fear is new to me. Everyone stayed calm. Well, except Ernie, who really wanted out of that crate. Then they announced homes were down. In our neighborhood. And we just waited.
Clearly, we are all fine. If I had been out of town for the day, and just got home, I would have no idea from my block that anything at all happened other than a little rain. We don't even have tree branches down. Four blocks from our house, though, a different story. Homes and businesses damaged. For the rest of the afternoon, the sound of sirens passing. We haven't left the house. Police are asking folks to stay put, so nobody gets in the way of emergency personnel. No reports of anyone hurt, thank God.
So much for the legend.....