We went about our daily routines, as usual, but kept a watchful eye on the TV weather reports. Another hurricane was headed to the Gulf of Mexico and we needed to see if it was going to come our way.
The hurricane season of 2004 was well underway. Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends on November 30 which sounds like a long time. To those of us who have lived in the area awhile, it passes by almost unnoticed.
Oh, we are well aware of its potential for harm and I dare say most of us have a fully-stocked emergency kit assembled, stashed away in a closet. It’s just that the storms don’t usually hit the main part of Florida. Andrew, back in 1992, was a major exception. However, the state is situated in such a place on the globe they usually swirl past. Bermuda and Cuba aren’t that lucky.
By now, the initial excitement of that first hurricane party we held was long gone. This was not our first time of having family and a few friends over to play games, eat snacks, and stay up late watching to see where the storm was going to make landfall. We were getting weary of the anxiety. It wasn’t so much fun anymore.
My mind wandered to the distant past as I reflected on another type of storm I had been through. Having grown up in the Midwest, I have a lot of experience with tornadoes. I had only been in one but had stayed up many nights, with my family members, watching weather reports on TV. We had run for cover on more than one occasion as storm clouds gathered, the winds picked up, and the sky turned a greenish color.
The one I was in occurred on the night of April 11, 1965, Palm Sunday, to be exact. My family had attended the morning worship service at church like we normally did every week. A friend invited me to spend the day with her at her home, so I was separated from my family.
I had a wonderful time at her house. We played together all day and I was treated to lunch, then supper with her family. The weather had been beautiful and sunny. But by the time her dad gave me a ride back to the church, the sky was dark, it began to rain, and on the way small pieces of hail had started to hit the car. My friend’s dad dropped me off then hurried off to be with his family at home.
It wasn’t long after my arrival at church the power went out. Up until that point, everyone had remained fairly calm. The kids were fine with everything, I guess because we didn’t know what was really going on and the ramifications. We were fine, that is, until the adults started praying. That’s when we got scared.
Part 1 of 2