After hurricane Wilma blew through here in October of 2005, my yard was left in a mess. We had our neighbors shed blown into our swimming pool, along with a large tree. Huge tree branches lay across our roof, also courtesy of the neighbor. Along the western edge of the property, the entire fence lay flat on the ground, exposing our pool and yard. Thanks to the help of my brother and his wife, who came down to help me in my time of need, everything was put back in order. The only problem is that my brother and I put the battered fence back up temporarily with just a few screws and nails that we could scrounge up. I totally intended to replace the fence, yet here it is two and a half years later, and the thing is still hanging on by a hair. In an effort to at least make the fence look presentable from our side of the property line, Mark stapled some lovely reed curtains to the rotting fence carcass.
We are coming up on my least favorite time of the year again, hurricane season, and though we haven't had a storm for the last two years, just the chance of one makes me nervous. The only good thing I can say about hurricanes is that unlike tornados, you have plenty of warning.
Back in 1956 we didn't have tornado warnings like they do now. In August of that year, I was six years old and watching my brother and his friends play baseball in the park. While sitting there I noticed a strange cloud formation that stretched from high in the sky all the way down to the ground. I was fascinated by the way it moved and the way all kinds of junk seemed to fly up where ever it went. It was a tornado, and it was ripping through our town of just three blocks from where we were sitting. After a few moments of quietly watching it I finally said to my brother, "What is that?".
All I remember from that point on is flying through the air. Not because the tornado had picked me up, but because my older brother had grabbed me and was running full speed towards our house a full two blocks away. My brother apparently understood the danger of what was happening, because he didn't take the long way home. He cut straight through yards and over fences, with me firmly in his grasp. Honestly I don't think my feet touched the ground once until we arrived at our house and we were all safely in the basement.
I don't think anyone was killed in that tornado, but I do know from that point on I learned to respect the power of nature. These days there are people who go on tornado hunting vacations, where a guide takes them across the Great Plains of the U.S.A. hoping to see a tornado. All I have to say about that is, what the hell is wrong with those people? Don't they know, all they have to do is buy a mobile home, park it near a corn field in Oklahoma, and wait.