This one was personal.
When you've lived in "tornado alley" all your life you become used to spring storms. Bad ones. The old joke about Oklahomans is that when a tornado siren goes off we run to the front porch instead of the cellar...well that's really true! When I was a kid, the designated shelter in our home was the hall coat closet. When the sirens sounded we always had to throw a bunch of things out of it just to get in. It was kind of a family joke.
This was no joke.
My son, his wife and two of my three grandsons live in Moore. Let me just say up front that they are all fine. Their house wasn't damaged. But it was a very close call. Less than 1/4 mile. Andrew called me to let me know they were okay before I even knew the tornado had happened. We are so blessed and I know it. But nevertheless, this one effected me deeply. I was pretty much a nervous wreck all week thinking about what could have happened. I think part of it was the children. The sight of the wounded children and demolished schools evoked memories of the Oklahoma City bombing more that any other event in the 18 years since.
Andrew and his family rode out the storm in an in-ground shelter that Elizabeth's mother had given them. Sadly, her mother passed away unexpectedly on Mother's Day. But I believe she was still watching out for them from heaven. Andrew, who is a middle school teacher in Moore public schools, just "happened" to be home that afternoon. Elizabeth just "happened" to be off work and, on a whim, decided to pick up their sons early from school / daycare. I can just see Diane up in heaven shaking her finger and saying "I gave you that shelter Elizabeth, now go use it!"
I must confess that I haven't always been happy to be an Oklahoman. Even now the Oklahoma legislature can make me grind my teeth in frustration. But this last week, watching everyone in the state pitch in to help... well, it made me very proud to share that heritage.
You can blow us up. You can blow us down. We will stand.
P.S. Singer Kellie Coffey the amazing artist singing in this video. Check her out at http://www.kelliecoffey.com/