When my parents were just getting established in farming, they had 2 children. There was my brother Onas, who was nearing four years old, my sister Myrna, who was nearly two, and mother was expecting another baby sometime soon. They lived on a farm that had belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa Kalb. Grandpa Kalb, my mother’s father died when mother was only seven years old, and Grandma managed to finish paying for the land which had been homestead property.
Grandma re-married when my mother was sixteen, and when my mother was married, she gave the property to my parents, as Grandma had married a man who was quite wealthy, and he wanted her to give the farm to my mother. Therefore, my parents had a good start in life, but also many difficult times living on that farm on the prairie, and farming with a couple of horses. South Dakota was noted for drought and sand storms, and also tornados now and then.
It was in my father’s words,” a beastly hot day.” The sky began to grow dark and threatening. Loud claps of thunder seemed to nearly shake the earth, and then it happened. My father spotted a tornado rolling and tossing with great speed across the prairie, appearing to leave nothing in its path, and headed directly towards their farm.
My father rushed to the house yelling, “There’s a tornado coming, get the kids and head for the cellar. “ The cellar was located outside the house. Mother grabbed Myrna, and took her first to the cellar and just set her down on the steps. She told her not to move, and rushed back to grab Onas while Dad went to let the animals out of the buildings, thinking they would be safer outside. The rain was pelting down when Dad and Mom met at the cellar door. They could hear Myrna crying, but she hadn’t budged one inch from where my mother had told her to sit.
Myrna was covered from head to toe with mud, and was soaking wet. As they got to the bottom of the cellar stairs, the storm struck with vengeance, but the house was not taken. Exactly how much damage they sustained, I am not sure as I did not arrive in the home until nearly 13 years later, and the theme of the story that was repeated over and over to me was the obedience of my sister.
The part that I do remember was how deeply this must have affected my mother, because after I was born and growing up, I saw my mother pace from window to window and looking out of the door, nearly every time there was a cloud in the sky. My brother and I were not allowed to leave her side. Mother would holler out to my Dad, “Allen, don’t you think we should go to the cellar? It looks like it is going to storm.” Dad would answer back that he would watch and let her know if he thought a real storm was coming.
All I know for sure is, my brother who was 5 years older than I, and I, was dragged to the dark, dank, “smelly” cellar so many times that I could not count them. The cellar was full of spider webs, and a mouse or two scurrying here and there, as frightened of us, as I was of them. The worst trips to the cellar were in the middle of the night when we were dragged from our beds to sit in that cellar.
Mother would lug along a lantern and old blankets, and we would sit until she was assured the storm was over, even though the “storm” seemed only to be a healthy shower. I grew to hate the word, “storm.” It wasn’t until I became more mature that I began to realize that there really were dangerous storms, and one needed to use common sense about them. Also, I then realized why my Mother had such a deathly fear.
Fear is something that can overtake a person if there is no solid foundation to stand on. I would say that my mother’s fear was less as she grew in the Lord, and being the last child in the family, I profited from watching her growth in Him.
I have learned that God’s will is perfect, and to accept what He puts in my path, even though I may have a healthy fear of results, I know I am in His hands.
I like it! And I do remember those terrible air raid sirens going off and us running to the basement until the "all clear".... the worst was in Texas where we were in Youth With A Mission and all lived in trailers or dorms without basements. The guys who were volunteer fireman spotted 6 different funnel clouds in one night! We were getting ready to go to the gym because it had no windows at least....