Monday, December 5, 2016

The Sirens

And these aren't the ones from Greek mythology...

That would have lured Odysseus and his crew if he had not filled his sailers' ears with wax and had them tie him to the ship's mast.

These were tornado sirens. The first one lasted about two minutes and sent Mae scurrying under the bed and Ellie running from room to room trying to get away from the sound. This was not a drill, either, and it occurred shortly before sunset on a dreary, rainy afternoon. But it passed. This was my first tornado warning, and I always wondered how I would handle it, knowing that tornadoes are common in Mississippi. When the second siren sounded, the girls went through the same routine, and I started wondering just where we could take cover, should that become necessary. None of the rooms in my house are interior rooms. All of the rooms, including the center hallway, have at least one wall exposed to the outside of the house and windows and doors. I was actually amazed that the electricity didn't even flicker. So by the time the third tornado siren went off (yeah, I know), I rounded up the girls and we went into the bedroom. I shut the bedroom door, and without me trying to get them to, they not only crawled under the bed but climbed into the box springs. All I could do was lie down on the floor on the side of the bed opposite the windows and keep talking to them, touching the heft of their little bodies inside the box springs. I took a pillow off the bed, kept my phone handy to check for a possible tornado sighting; but there was none.

At least there wasn't a sighting until the fourth Siren went off, this one well into the night, when the sky was black and it wouldn't have been possible from my vantage to even see a tornado. This time the weather alert on my phone said: A tornado has touched down in the Columbus area—TAKE COVER NOW!

I knew about tornadoes in Columbus, Mississippi, before I moved here. As a friend of mine in nearby Aberdeen said, if you're afraid of tornadoes, you shouldn't move here. Theoretical tornadoes didn't frighten me in the least (ah-hahaha...). But the sirens were enough to probably drain my face of all color, especially the last siren and the definite warning. Mississippi was hit that night with six tornadoes. That was just last week, and this week storms are again moving across Mississippi from the southwest to the northeast, and Columbus is once again getting rain. But there is no expectation that these will generate tornadoes. Now, while I felt partially responsible for bringing the drought of this past summer and fall, I am not responsible for bringing the tornadoes. Where I lived most of my life, the most destructive weather was hail storms, and they could be doozies. The second worst condition is the massive sand storms that occasionally block out the sky and hide the mountains. And in Arizona, they have haboobs that cover the cities.

The effect is that there is really no place free of bad weather from time to time, and unless I get hit by a tornado, I'm staying right here.

I just discovered this marvelous keyboardist named Doña Oxford. She has just the kind of high energy entertainment I needed to forget about the recent sirens. Here's her web site. She plays a variety of music, and her bio is impressive.

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