As a kid, tornados never seemed that scary. The wind would blow, sure; but other than picking up the limbs that would be strewn across the lawn the next day, there seemed to be little impact. I grew up safe in the knowledge that if something bad was going to happen, that someone, an adult, would let me know. I think most of us did. But on a rainy day in April of 1974, I was forced to put this supposition to the test.
Mom was making preparations for a ladies club party that she was hosting in our home that night. And, I’d just finished my homework and was watching a little television before being banished to my bedroom when the grown-ups came over. The unremarkable evening, like many scores of others, spun around us with little note of it.
My Dad came home from the fields a bit early. It had been raining off and on all day. Such is spring in the Hoosier state. But as his pickup parked on the gravel in front of the house, he didn’t come in immediately as was his custom. Instead, I noticed him peering at the sky from the front porch. Distracted by the TV, I didn’t immediately notice him come in the house – although the door was inches away. He was applying all of his considerable strength to close the door. His shouts were barely audible over the din. In an instant I was scooped up and delivered to safety. The next time I was in that room, it was gone.
Yes, tornados are scary and do kill people. But the adults in my life were vigilant, and ready to sacrifice. We, even the dog, survived and built back the house. Today, it makes me wonder are we ready for the wind to blow?