Monday afternoon, the weather forecast began to predict there would be wind storms, thunder and lightning, hard rain, and possibly tornadoes late Monday night and into the early morning hours of Tuesday morning.
The little 7-year-old angel girl heard these reports and began to ask if a tornado was coming on Monday night. She wanted to know how big a tornado was, how loud it would be, etc. I made the mistake of telling her about when I was a teenager and a tornado hit our home. She then viewed tornados on the computer which were filmed by storm chasers, listened to their sound, etc. As she went to bed that night, I could tell she was wound up with thoughts of tornadows. She even packed up her American Girl doll in its carrying case, along with another favorite doll, and put them in the bed with her. She explained she would need to grab them if the tornado hit that night.
Well, right on cue, in the early morning hours of Tuesday morning, I heard the howling of the wind, lightning flashing all around and pounding rain. Before long, I also heard the pitter-patter of delicate little feet as the angel appeared in my room. She said, "Daddy, do you hear that storm? I think I heard a tornado coming our way. Are you scared?"
I replied, "Don't worry, no tornado is coming and besides daddy is big and strong and he's not afraid of anything."
She asked, "Can I come in here with you, daddy?"
"Of course," I replied.
She then said, "I can't find you, where are you, daddy?"
I, of course, replied "I'm under the bed baby, covered up with heavy blankets. Where do you think I am?"
Well, sure enough, the little angel climbed in bed with me. Before long I also heard the rumble of my small cattle dog mix, Gal, as she bound in the bed and got so close to me I could feel her breath. She's not much for sleeping in the bed, but the storm had her seeking comfort.
We actually have a small tornado shelter in one of the hallway closets in my house. You open the closet door, lift a lid and, lo and behold, there is an 8-foot-by-8-foot-by-8-foot-deep pit where one can crawl into the hole and wait out a storm.
That thing is dark, full of spiders and slugs and God knows what else, and when it rains tends to seep water. Add my wife, the little angel and my 6-year-old tidal wave boy and I'd just as soon stand naked in the yard and watch a tornado than climb down in there.
Speaking of which, I'm sure some of you have seen the tornado egg-shaped shelters that are sold on the side of the road around Southwest Georgia. They are small capsules made to be buried in the yard. You then lift the hatch and climb in during a storm.
I'd rather be water boarded than get in one of those containers. Besides, it'd be my luck that after I got in the container a tree would fall over top of the thing, not a soul would know I was trapped inside, and years from now people would still be talking about how the tornado came along and blew T. Gamble away.
Well, the storm did get pretty bad that morning. It was almost so rough that my wife snuggled up next to me. I held the little girl tight and the dog nearly burrowed a hole in my back. The tidal wave laid on top of the covers sprawled out like a fraternity boy who had passed out at a party. I could have cranked up a chainsaw in the bedroom and he wouldn't have awoken.
Thankfully, the storm missed us this time and the little girl finally went back to sleep. Next time, however, I better make sure to keep a flashlight handy. It gets really dark up under the bed.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.