This past week ended on a harsh note. I was at work on Saturday and at around 2 pm, we were hit directly by an EF-1 tornado. Even those of us who have lived our entire lives selecting rentals based on the available shelter options were a little shaken. The roof was caved in not 20 feet from where we were sheltered, and we watched as the water began caving in. Because of a gas line rupture, we were unable to retrieve our things, and so I was left with family in three different parts of the city, no way to contact them, and no idea of the path or the strength of the tornado.
As I drove around in the aftermath, encountering multiple road obstacles, it was clear this was significant. On the city’s southside, I did not notice any evidence of electrical power until I crossed the primary road that separates the city’s northside from the southside. Fortunately, the northside, where I live, was not hit by tornadic activity, and I was able to reach my family members and assure them of my safety, as well as assure myself of theirs.
It was a stressful day, especially for those who are not accustomed to this weather. For those of us who grew up here, it becomes routine, as you can’t live here long without knowing someone who has suffered significant loss at the hands of these storms.
It’s too much for some. And, although I currently live across the state line in Arkansas, it is what makes me proud to be an Okie. Because, for whatever flaws we have, we are a strong people. We stand together. We rebuild. And we don’t back down to the worst that mother nature has to offer.
We’re preparing today for another round of storms, and it’s my hope and prayer that everything passes by with minimal property damage and no loss of life. Because that is what truly matters.
Although I am temporarily displaced from my job, they are paying us while we are shutdown, and offering to give us options to travel to other centers to work if this shutdown is extended. So we’re not in a worry financially. We just have to heal the mental wounds.