At least nine months out of the year, there’s a chance of inclement weather, of some type and duration, somewhere in Alabama. This afternoon, there has been a series of strong storms training over the same areas, for several hours. There’s plenty of video footage from around the state, hail, flooding, wind damage, and the like. We expect these things. We handle hail FAR better than we handle snow. And April is a historically significant month for Alabama, meteorologicaly.
April 27, 2011 long track tornadoes claimed 247 lives. Just in Alabama. A nearly identical mix was predicted last year, on the third anniversary, and did produce several tornadoes, but blessedly spared lives. We keep one eye to the sky in April.
When we were children, my sister and I lived in a series of tornado magnets (trailer parks, according to the CDC), and every time the wind blew, the trailer would start creaking, and she’d go to crying. I eventually got used to her, practically duct taped to my side until the weather died down. I totally credit Blondie with my poker face. If she ever got a hint I was scared, too, none of us would’ve made it through her preteens. Every year, technology advances a bit more, and preparation becomes more efficient. But we grew up here- going to bed with our shoes on, just in case. In case of what, I don’t know- to pedal faster, maybe- but by golly our feet were IN our shoes. My son loves to hear those stories. He was in his shoes, in my sister’s storm shelter, that night in 2011, while our community was gutted by one of those record setting, fatal, tornadoes. The distance between his shoes and that storm was less than four miles.
So tonight, April Eve, I’m sitting in the middle of my bed, shoes on, glued to Rich Thomas and his radar. My son is not afraid of severe weather- he cut his teeth on hurricanes, and storm shelters. But I had to laugh- when he came in and joined me on the bed, with his football helmet on. Not an actual regulation game helmet, but the commemorative souvenir helmet. Which is at least three sizes smaller than his head. His cheeks were stuffed in there, though. I laughed. He couldn’t smile. He could barely get his mouth open to speak. We both had fat tears rolling down our cheeks by the time he handed me his old Halloween costume military helmet.
“Put this on, Mama. Jesus may have to come get us, and I want Him to know you’re coming with me.” Did I mention he is a very wise boy?
I wish, sometimes, I could have been as spiritually grounded so early in life. I am so grateful that he trusts God first, above all else. He has a healthy respect for preparation, and the gift of prayer, too. Getting a little misty eyed over my growing boy’s thoughtfulness, I put on the flimsy toy helmet, offering to trade, since he needed a little bit more room than in the Crimson souvenir helmet he had on.
Mock horror… “No way, Mama!! If Jesus has to come get me, I don’t want him taking me through Auburn!”
That’s my boy! Suffice it to say, we met neither Jesus nor Bear Bryant tonight, but we are always prepared, either way.