It's been years since I've experienced storms quite like the ones we had this past weekend. Where I live, we don't usually have weather this severe, so it caught me off guard. Maybe one other time in the last ten or eleven years since I've lived in southern Kentucky have I seen it even come this close and that was when my stepson was four and my daughter an infant.
My father-in-law and brother-in-law came by to check on us because it was nighttime (rare for storms like that) and my husband was working 2nd shift and the storm had knocked out the power. I had huddled myself and my two small children in the central part of the house, away from the windows. Tucked in this small area between the bathroom door, the bedroom door and the center room with my stepson's toddler bed mattress propped up, I was ready to cover us if things got worse. I rocked my sleeping daughter in my arms, my stepson sleeping on a blanket next to me with his tiger-shaped pillow cuddled close.
This past weekend was a reminder of my own childhood growing up in Central Kentucky, where spring/summer/fall was a season all unto itself- "Tornado Season." We moved to town when I was four and living in the suburbs with a basement, I can't remember a time we didn't charge down those stairs during storm warnings. My mom had a couple of scanners, so it wasn't uncommon to hear the National Weather Service emergency announcements often. for the majority of my youth my heart would pound in my ears as I gathered my most important possessions to drag downstairs.
That mostly consisted of stuffing all my favorite books and my writings and my private journals into my sea-foam green trunk trimmed in purple metal. There was no greater fear than a twister coming through, ripping my secret diaries out of our house and depositing them all around the neighborhood, possibly in the yard of some boy I had a crush on.
I remember being at my grandparents' when the winds got up and ripped down the tall John Deere green metal fencing that hid the junkyard out behind the house and the hail damaged numerous vehicles on the property. My grandpa had a Cadillac that "became" a convertible after one significantly bad storm with a lot of hail. Thankfully we didn't get any, at least not here at our house.
I think one of the most vivid memories I have is once standing out in the backyard with my mom, staring at the swift moving pitch black line of clouds overhead and the eerie silence surrounding us as though the world has gone completely mute.
I believe that was the time a tornado was headed away from Anderson County toward Mercer, but then it suddenly turned and headed back in our direction. We took cover in the deepest corner of the basement closest to where it was coming from- in the laundry room- with a large board, old door or a table top over us to protect my mom, sister, our birds and myself. I think my dad was at work at the time.
Weather can be a very scary thing. I guess all those years living in fear of it, I let my guard down when I moved away. The storms here have never seemed so bad, at least not until this past weekend, which only served as a reminder that it can get bad no matter where you live and it never hurts to be prepared for anything.
The Nashville area got hit pretty hard to our south and the northern part of our county seemed to take the brunt of the tornado warning. Somehow we managed to slip through unscathed but it was close enough that we got sandwiched between the high winds and abrupt sporadic rain.. A glance up the road to my left was a wall of gray- to my right- sunshine and raindrops. Our hedges nearly bowed down before me as the wind shoved them toward our house.
The saving grace was the rainbow, the brilliant sunshine that followed, and the pink illumination in the sky that lit up everything with a rosy golden glow.