Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tornado warning. January 17th, 2016

Tornado warning

I'm fixin' bacon, eggs and toast this morning; to celebrate surviving the storm and possible tornado, skirting to the north, our mobile home park here in Florida.
Diane called me in from the lanai, at 2 AM, where I was engrossed in Mary Karr's book, "the Liar's Club," saying "Bob, I want you to come in NOW; the watch is now a tornado warning" (a warning means conditions are ripe for a tornado to touch down in your immediate area.)
In my mind, it was a fruitless endeavor. We are in a double wide mobile home; near zero protection if hit by a tornado. We do not know where we are to go for a "safe" shelter. If a twister sets down, close by, we're most likely goners.
I'm filled with the feeling like being on patrol in the pitch-black night of South Vietnam-- so dark, ( no stars, no moon and in a dense jungle,) I held on to the web belt of the marine in front of me so as to not get disoriented, lost and left behind, waiting for an ambush we were sure was just ahead. We believed, I certainly did, the gooks could see in the dark, had sonar ears like bats and would know we were walking blind yards before we got near their hiding place; certain death lay ahead.
I didn't say any of my doubts to Diane. I put on the mask of brave indifference just like those dark days in Vietnam and went about the mechanizations of "saftifying " our flimsy home; we closed all the windows and doors, moved two chairs from the dining room into the central hallway farthest away from outside walls and windows. We each pocketed the new flashlights, bought 2 days earlier following two tornadoes that touched down an hour south of us, packed our get-away bags, and plugged our mobile phones in to charge. Diane turned the TV on to WINK weather where Mary Mays gave us minute to minute live updates as the tornado prone storm raced across the Gulf of Mexico toward us at 65 miles an hour. Our phone's tornado warning app. kept alerting us, at least a dozen times.
Calm, we'd done all we knew to do, no fear, just anticipation. I finished a poem started earlier out in the lanai, listened to the weather girl, and waited it out.
Within half an hour to 45 minutes the more dangerous part of the storm passes us by leaving threats of driving rain, strong winds and up to 80 lightening strikes every 15 minutes or so.
About 5 AM, with the worst passed, we settled in to our matching burgundy recliners in front of the tv, sighing relief, I fell asleep. (I slept through a fire fight one night in Vietnam, only waking when nudged by our radioman who whispered, "doc, it's your turn for radio watch.")
Waking an hour later, the house was dark, the tv off, and Diane not in her recliner, I think she must have gone back to bed. I took my coffee, book, and cigar out to the lanai. In the dark, I do a cursory perimeter check for damages; a section of the driveway was covered with mud, the tomato plant, drowned, was uprooted from it's pot, stake and all. The tree we bought yesterday and left out back in it's 10 gallon pot was laying on it's side. I'll go back and check it when daylight returns. Everything else looks no worse for the storm--
I light my cigar, sip my coffee and read another twenty pages in "the Liar's Club."


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