Another windy night in Claremore

Corey and I drove to a family friend’s house to wait out the severe weather as the tornado sirens blared through our community. I always get jittery in severe thunderstorms. I feel alert and ready for action, mostly ready to run or to hide.

Sometimes, I think Oklahoma has a bad habit of laughing off these severe storms. They minimize the threat with off-hand comments and jokes about being disappointed when the storm doesn’t perform extravagantly.

I have worked through an extravagant storm, a deadly storm that demanded respect or dished out death. I listened to stories from broken individuals, some who lost more than a home, they lost family and friends. I have walked past debris. I glanced at bibles laying on the ground blowing in the wind, and I wondered what chapter or what verse would I find if I had the time to examine the scene more closely.

I remember seeing personal belongings thrown about. I remember nice neighborhoods reduced into conditions found only in deprived third world countries. I also specifically remember the X’s on the doors. I remember wondering what those X’s meant, and I asked the leader of my American Red Cross team. He told me the X’s mean the house was search and no further search and rescue efforts were necessary at that location. Some houses had X’s, and some did not.

I saw homes with only fragments still standing, and spray painted on the side of door falling off its hinges said, “God saved us.” Not everyone was saved, though, 160 people died in Joplin during the tornado.

We not only disrespect the dead when we underestimate mother nature, but we also disrespect the power of these storms that will kill without mercy, destroy without consequence and appear and disappear in moments leaving only rubble in its path.

We had a two-day notice that tonight would be a windy one, but many people took the risk, rolled the dice, and determined that tonight wouldn’t be any different. They were right, this time. I only wish they would care before it is too late.

On a lighter note, I did not go take a jog in the nature reserve. Life is also about learning lessons and not making the same mistake twice.