As most of my readers are aware, it’s been very interesting in Oklahoma lately. (Side note: all of you that emailed, messaged, Facebooked, Tweeted-Thank you! Your concern is heart-warming and humbling. Those of you that sent the messenger pigeons; I’m afraid they were blown off course.) We’ve been lucky. We’ve had friends’ homes struck by lightening, blown away by one of the tornadoes, battered by hail, and many without power. Somehow, we’ve escaped pretty much unscathed. We are blessed.
Friday night was touch and go with the storm meandering through the city cloaked in rain. We did what Okies do and got out of the front porch to check out the storm. Yes, there is something in that red dirt of ours that triggers a certain level of insanity. We also took a laptop out there with us so we could run the live feed from KOCO, with a slight deviation to see if the red sparkly tie had been deployed. Locals understand that when Mike Morgan breaks out the sparkly tie, shit’s about to get real. We didn’t have enough booze to play the Gary England drinking game, so we went with Damon Lane. Besides, I met that guy the other day. That was before he watched the May 20th tornado barrel through his own neighborhood. Yes, we give the weathermen a hard time, but these guys save lives around here every spring. When we can’t afford for them to be wrong, they get it right. Oklahoma requires the best of the best in meteorologists.
The storm swung south of us and only delivered buckets and buckets of rain. Not going to call it ark worthy, but I believe there were animals lining up two by two. Teenbot, however, was spending the evening with his grandparents who just happened to be right in the path of the storm. Thankfully, it hopped over their heads and the worst he has to report is that it was hot and crowded in the storm shelter. Again, very blessed.
Once we had confirmed that the flood-waters had cleared on Saturday, we headed out to retrieve Teenbot and have lunch with my parents. We were a little early and so decided to check out the neighborhood garage sale nearby. At every house it was the same, we greeted the homeowners with the typical, “Hi! How are you?” which was answered with a grateful and relieved, “Still here.” There’s a tremendous amount of resilience in that. Most had stories of how they’d spent the previous night in shelters glued to whatever broadcast they could pick up clinging to what was most important, each other. And often the stories included what provisions were thrown out of the shelter to accommodate a neighbor without a shelter of their own. Dogs, kids, and strangers huddled down not knowing what the world would look like when they unlatched the heavy door.
Still here. Two words containing the most eloquent prayer of gratitude and hope that man can utter. Each day is a gift. Sometimes it’s easy to forget. Not right now. I’m still here.