March began a season of change for my family. Moving from Florida to Nebraska was an adventurous undertaking. The snow drifts we arrived to reminded me of home. From the window it seemed as though I gazed at the gorgeous, white sand dunes of the Gulf of Mexico.
While the snow melted, we settled into a lovely, historic rental home. Then, just as the first signs of spring immerged, we found the perfect home to purchase. Time to move again.
By May, I felt as though we had settled in. We were told to expect a summer similar to what I grew up with in Florida. No one told us about wall clouds!
It was a typical, breezy Nebraska day. (I’ve learned that every day is breezy in Nebraska.) We had come home from an uneventful market trip and turned on a local Christian station to relax with a few tunes, when suddenly a siren type screech shattered our peace. An urgent bulletin blared across the airwaves, “The national weather service of Hastings, Nebraska has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the following counties. . .”. The announcer went on to say that within ten minutes we would experience heavy rain, possible hail, possible tornadoes, and winds with up to eighty mile-per-hour gusts.
John, my husband, looked at me lazily and said, “Maybe we should pull the car into the garage.”
With wide-eyes, I responded, “YA THINK?!”
There, to the west of us, was the largest, most ominous cloud I had ever seen. The western horizon was literally one huge wall of black and it was moving quickly toward us. John, not so lazy anymore, walked briskly to the garage as I grabbed the car keys.
As soon as we had pulled the car in and before the garage door closed completely, the ‘breeze’ picked up its pace. Getting back into the house was actually a struggle against Mother Nature.
We collected the crew, whose curious little eyes were glued to the upstairs window, and raced to the basement. I felt as though we were experiencing a Wizard of Oz moment. Debris continually swirled past our basement window.
I began to think of a story my Mom humored me with many times about her near-death tornado experience. Granny B and her eight children had just settled down one dark and stormy night in their small, Southern Alabama shack. Somehow, Granny B sensed something terrible was about to happen and gathered nearly all the children under her bed. My mom and her sister refused to be stirred from their sleep. Suddenly, everything was deathly silent. Silence was broken by what sounded like a freight train barreling through their home. Eternity and seconds combined before it was silent again. Mom felt rain pouring down on her and leaped from under her covers. Granny B screamed for the children to run next door. Mom struggled with the front door a moment before she realized there were only a few walls left standing. The front wall and the wall which stood beside the bed she and her sister refused to leave were among those few.
My mom called about this time, interrupting my reverie. She was frantic. “Teresa, I’m watching the weather channel. Looks like ya’ll are having really bad weather. Are the boys alright?”
“Yes mam, but let me tell you about this wall cloud.”
That was the last thing I should have done. Mom is, understandably, still deathly afraid of tornadoes. She started ranting and raving about what I needed to do to keep the boys safe.
“Mom, calm down. We’re all in the basement.” (Basements are a luxury unknown to the South.)
“Well, don’t you let those boys leave the basement until that storm has passed.”
“Yes mam.”. I quickly told Mom, “I love you” and handed the phone to my oldest. (It is always nice to pass the torch in the heat of a lecture.)
We survived several of those national weather service warnings this summer. Unlike Mom, our home is still intact. The most damage we received were sore muscles from picking up numerous small, fallen tree limbs.
I am now anxiously anticipating what Fall will bring. Fear is not a factor when I look to our future. The calmness I feel comes from a heavenly assurance that just as God protected my mom, he will also protect me and my family. Through Him, we can weather any storm.