I feel the need to say something about yesterday, but after thinking about stuff, I have no clue what to write.
Living with severe weather is a part of every Oklahoman’s life. It’s something you learn to respect, fear and deal with. I should know. I’ve lived here my entire life. Boring, huh?
During May, severe storms are always in the back of your mind. Prep work starts at a young age. Before we learn how to read, we’re taught the difference between a watch and a warning. Parents show their kids which closet is considered the center of the house. We see the footage, the damage, the destruction. We see how powerful these monsters are.
Despite all that, nothing can truly prepare you for the destruction and rage and horror we witnessed yesterday. We’ve been through our fair share of tragedies in this state. That doesn't lessen this strike’s blow or make us heal any faster, but our history with tragedy does offer comfort. We know we will heal and come back stronger. It's how we do it. It's the Oklahoma way.
I experienced my first tornado warning in the mid-1980s. I took cover with my parents and little brother in a neighbor’s in-ground storm shelter. There wasn’t a tornado on the ground – just circulation and a wall cloud – but the experience was terrifying. I remember the sounds of shrieking tornado sirens and hail hammering down upon the shelter’s steel roof. I remember looking up at my dad and him making a funny face. It was his way of saying everything would be fine. When the storm let up, I bolted out of the shelter to a sea of hailstones. I gathered up the largest ones and put them in the freezer.
When I reflect on that moment – and the fear I felt while tucked away safely inside a storm shelter – I can’t help but also think about the scared kids at Briarwood or Plaza Towers Elementary School. I think of their fears, wonder what thoughts raced through their minds, and if everything turned out okay.
And then I realize I have no clue what to write.
Out of respect to all the victims of the Moore tornado, we’re going to take a little break from our usual mix of content. We still may post updates on news and fundraising activities, but that’s about it.
If you’d like to help with relief efforts, please do two things:
• Keep all the victims in your thoughts and prayers
• Donate to the Red Cross by clicking here or texting REDCROSS to 90999