Thursday, February 7, 2008

Storm Stories......

"Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew clam...Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love..."

Psalm 107:28-31

Coming Storm
Fine Art Print
Dear Readers, I have not gone lazy or lax in my blogging, once again we have been without power for a few days. I refuse to complain about minor inconvenience and having to play pioneer woman again when all I lost was a little electricity. So many more have been devastated by the storms raging through our area.

We knew it was coming, on Saturday and Sunday it was so warm, dare I even say it got stuffy, humid, and hot? By Monday morning a cold front and warm front collided and the storms began to brew once again. At first they were just the typical thunder storms but the system built up into a full and deadly gale. Then worse of all tragedy struck and the system swelled into high winds and tornadoes.
Storm Field by
Statewide we have devastation from wind damage and power outages to completely leveled towns, countless homes and businesses destroyed, and the most tragic of all is the loss of human lives. There was damage literally to the North, South, East, and West of us but we were spared with only a loss of power. Once it was restored late yesterday I sat riveted to the news with a sinking heart seeing familiar places totally swept away. A few short miles from my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins homes and business a hospital was completely destroyed and several landmarks no longer exist.

I wept with a man being interviewed standing in front of what was his home as he recounted how blessed he was. He said that the Lord had looked after him and his family. They huddled together in prayer asking for physical safety. Tears of joy streamed down his face as he lifted it to the heavens and declared the goodness and glory of the Lord for hearing and answering their plea. Then with a somber face he turned to the camera and said his prayer was also for his neighbors and it was still unknown if they were all right or not as door to door search teams were trying to account for everyone.

This man reminded me of Job, who lost everything, yet he was still able to praise God. He did not understand why this had to happen or see a purpose in it, yet he chose to praise God instead of curse Him, knowing that the Great I Am was no mere spectator in this suffering but was with them through the experience. My prayer is that all those touched by this tragedy is the reward of Job, a great blessing in the aftermath of suffering.

Storm Approaching
by Vimal Chand
I will leave you for now on a brighter note, in which I hope you do not think I am making light of what has happened, with a couple of storm stories from my childhood, in which I hope you can see the humor through a child’s eyes.

My mama was always afraid of storms, having been reared in what is known around here as “Tornado Alley”, a swath across the state in which these deadly storms seem to brew and strike repeatedly. The local term for a brewing storm is, “It’s comin’ up a cloud!” When I heard my mama utter those words they struck fear and dread in my heart not because of the pending storm but because of what she made us do in preparation. Out came the hottest itchiest wool blankets, every available container in the house was filled with water, even the bathtub, in case the power went out, candles, lanterns, matches and flashlights were gathered, a few windows were opened so the house would not explode, and a mattress was dragged off the bed and into the hall.

Mama would roll my little step-sister and I up in those hot old wool blankets deposit us on the hardwood floor and fling the mattress on top of us. There we would swelter, sweat, and itch while we listened to the battery operated radio reports of impending doom. An argument was sure to ensue over breathing! We fussed that the other one was breathing too loud or using up too much good air, or argue whether our teeth had been brushed as bad breath seemed to permeate the atmosphere.
Before the Storm
Oil on board
Mama spent her time running up and down the hall and out the front door to see what the storm was doing. I always worried about where she deposited us, right under the big old attic fan, which she always turned on to draw air into the house. I would listen the that familiar song of the whir of its blades, da-dump, da-dump, DA-DUMP!, it was always louder every third rotation, and wonder if it fell would the blades keep going and chop through the mattress underneath which we swooned.

As soon as the all clear was given mama would lift up the end of the mattress and pull out her cocooned offspring and unfurl us from our woolen prison. She would draw our sweaty little bodies to her in a fierce hug like we had just survived the ravages of war and feed us a homemade jello popsicles as our medal of valor for braving the storm.

A tornado never even came close to my childhood home, yet we were subject to mother’s fears, which I later learned were passed down from her mother, which brings me to another storm story.

One summer when I was a small girl I was visiting my grandmother when a storm started to brew and the sky turned a sickish green. My uncle ran into the house and yelled, “Ma, its comin’ up a cloud, come on, we’ve got to git to the cellar!” Granny grabbed me up and we jumped into my uncles old aqua ford pick up shooting gravel a mile high as he tore up the rocky dirt road to the nearest neighbor about a mile or so away to get to shelter. We bumped across the cattle guard with teeth jarring intensity as a funnel formed across the hay field. I was on my knees gripping the back of the seat looking out the rear window at the black snaking tail dipping down from the sky.
Tornado Over Kansas
by J. Steuart Curry (1929) Oil
Uncle Charlie got us to the neighbor’s cellar at about the same time that tail began to touch the ground. The air was charged with electricity and a tremendous roar was right behind us with winds so strong we could barely make our way from the truck to the cellar door. Jude, my Granny’s neighbor stood in the open door motioning us in. Just as he and Uncle Charlie tried to shut the door it was sucked from their hands and ripped off the hinges and went sailing straight up into the air and shot off like a Frisbee being flung.

We huddled together with Jude, his wife and two of their children in the back of the cellar looking through the sloped opening at what appeared to be a scene from the Wizard of Oz. We saw hay bales, tin from barns or roofs, tree branches, and all kinds of litter swirling around. Then we heard an awful squawking sound and saw some chickens trying to run by only to be sucked straight up and flung is circles like they were caught in the spin cycle of a washing machine. As suddenly as it began it ended in deafening silence. We all quietly filed out to view the damage. The tail of that tornado went between the house and the cellar and only left in its wake debris from somewhere else.

Silo with Impending Storm
Framed Oil on Canvas
My Granny likes to tell this part of the story. She said my eyes were as big as saucers and then I started to laugh uncontrollably. Everyone is staring at me like I am addled until they see me pointing. Running or rather staggering like a drunk in dizzy circles are a half dozen or so chickens. What struck me funny were not their actions but their look, they were completely devoid of feathers, plucked clean from the storm! I said, “Why Granny, look at them chickens, they’s plum naked!” This broke the tension and we all had a good laugh over the sight of those chickens.

To this day I have a healthy fear of storms, their power, and ability to destroy but I, like the man in the interview have an even greater belief in a sovereign God who will go with me through them whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, financial, or emotional storms, I am not alone.

Miss Sandy


Lori said...

Miss Sandy, my heart goes out to your neighbors who lost their belongings and perhaps their lives in these terrible storms,such a tragedy...and i had tears in my eyes as i read about the man on the news praising God for sparing him and his family...
you are quite the story~teller, your story about the tornado when you were a small girl had me riveted...

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

First of all, I'm so glad that you and your family are safe. I hadn't even heard about these terrible storms until late last evening. That's what I get for not turning on the tv all day. The stories are just heart-rending.

On the lighter note, your mother's methods lend a whole new meaning to "smother love." LOL! You poor things!

So the chickens were all ready for the pot by the time they finished their time in the whirlwind?! LOL! I would've been, too.

Will be praying for your state and your community. Isn't this kinda early for tornado season?

The Feathered Nest said...

Sandy, your post is compelling, touching and adorable all at the same time!!! You do have a gift sweet one...Thank you for visiting me today and all of your sweet words. I do hope that your area recovers from these terrible storms...xxoo, Dawn

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Thank you for your suggestion about using warm water. I used tepid water to soak the image in, but warm water when it was running over my hands. I should add that to the directions, though, to be very clear.

Will pray that the weather returns to something recognizable. It's a challenge to be prepared when the season isn't right. The experienced such as yourself can read the signs...that humidity, the sky in that particular shade of green...I remember that one from my time in Oklahoma.

Hope that you are planning a wonderfully relaxing weekend, too!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Sorry to bother you, Miss Sandy, but we have a question, BumbleVee and I, about the copying process. It's in comments at my blog today. You're a doll whether you show up or not. LOL!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Thanks a million! That was very sweet of you and very helpful to us!

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