Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring storms

We've had quite a number of severe storms lately -- out here in the Midwest -- and I remember the storms (if you could call the that now that I know what a storm is really like) we had when I was growing up and during the many times I returned home.

There was a smell in the air, even before there were any visible storm clouds. I suppose it's because we were due east of the Delaware River (yes that's what the smell was) and the wind had changed direction and picked up speed. Anyway, we always knew that a storm was coming well before we actually heard any thunder.

Now we have weather radar to keep us updated. These past few days one of our TVs has been tuned into that channel almost constantly. We praise God that the storms, while tornadic, haven't spawned any funnels in our area.

I recall one day, I had just gotten home from school. The sky was darkening. Our bad storms (remember that's relative) always came from just to the east of the Downing school. And we'd watched the clouds build up and darken. I usually just stayed on the front porch and watched them roll in.

I got home from school and my dad grabbed me and told me to go to the basement. Go to the basement? Why? Because there is going to be a tornado, I was told. Yeh, right. Well, the sky did get that greenish tint that accompanies and warns of the possibility of a tornado, but I wondered why my dad would say such a thing. NJ doesn't get tornadoes, does it? Well, not back then. We never heard of such a thing.

Well, if there was a tornado that day, it missed us, but I had nightmares for years of me being in the basement with the family, and looking up into a funnel and it turning and missing our house just as it got close enough to see what was whirling inside.

Last night as the storms came through we were given a play-by-play of where the whirling clouds were. Communities were told to go their "safe place". Our "safe place"? Our "safe place" is with our Lord. However, our tornado non-shelter is under the stairwell behind the elevator.


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