Friday, April 11, 2008

While I was away ....

March 29th, 2008
I have concluded that being poor is boring. It's hard to
believe that I have a house full of kids spending the night
even though I have no cable T.V., no internet, no phone,
no heat, and practically no food ! You would think that
they would find a more kid friendly house to hang
out at. At least, then I could enjoy the quiet ! Maybe
I could get some "grown up time" with my hubby,
or something? But no, I'm stuck doing laundry,
cleaning house, and washing dishes. You know,
the regular mom stuff. Today has been especially
difficult. First of all, it's Saturday, and the kids don't
have school. Secondly, our spring- time weather has
gone south for the weekend, and it's been cool and
cloudy all day. Just a very dreary kind of day.
I haven't been particuarlly inspired to do much of
anything. I didn't take the dogs out for a walk, and
instead of cooking dinner, I got pizza from
Little Cesear's.

Tomorrow might be a little more interesting. The
weather channel is predicting an outbreak of tornadoes.
Okay, I know that sounds morbid, but here in Kansas,
it's sort of springtime entertainment. We realise that,
technically, it could be dangerous and all, but people who
have lived here all their lives just get used to it. Besides,
there really isn't anything to be done to stop it. Almost
everyone around here has a basement, and those
who don't, know what to do, or where to go.
Actually, mid-summer tornadoes are much cooler
than spring tornadoes.

I remember when I was growing up, they would
almost always come in the late afternoon or evening.
After a long, hot day of playing outside, the wind would
suddenly pick up and grow cool, and the clouds would
start to roll in. All the usual naborhood sounds of birds,
traffic, and barking dogs, would suddenly go silent.
For a breif time, all the wind would cease, and the sky
would turn an eerie shade of emerald green.
If you hadn't gotten your butt home by then, you
had better run, because the wind, and sirens were
inevitable at that point.

In our neighborhood, if it wasn't pouring down rain,
all the families would gather on their front porches
to watch the skies. All the front doors would be left
open and the collective sounds of the speacial weather
bulletins could be heard in surround sound drifting
through screen doors, up and down the block.

As the clouds churned, mothers would wander out
into front yards, wringing their hands in their aprons,
to share the news of the last sightings, or where the
twister had last touched down, and what direction
it was expected to travel. Occassionally, they would
holler back towards the house at any kids under the
age of seven who dared to "take one step off that porch."

The men, usually still in their work clothes, would
bravely gather in the street as if their mere presence
would deter the tornado's path, and thus save their
families and homes from destruction. Almost always,
one of the men would have a police scanner set up inside
their garage, and once the doors were thrown open, the
serious, technical discussions would migrate in that

Most of the teenagers would assemble like a mounted
brigade on their bikes at the end of someone's driveway
gathered around a battery operated radio that was tuned
to the coolest local radio station. It was their job to carry
information from the dad's headquarters to the mom's
camp; and occassionally, and grudgingly, check on the little
kids left on the porches.

As the evening wore on and the skies darkened,
the ladies discussions would turn to neighborhood gossip.
The dad with the police scanner in his garage, would
almost always be the same dad with his personal
beer fridge in the same garage, and the sound of tops
being poped open would be heard.

Eventually, the "All Clear" would be sounded, and kids
would venture off their porches to chase fireflies. When
the rock and roll from the teens radio got too loud, the moms
would gather up the little ones for baths and bedtimes. As
dad's wandered back to their houses, they would drag their
older kids along as well.

Of course, all of that is exactly what the Emergency
Broadcast System tells people not to do, but it's a prime
time to meet any new families to the neighborhood, and
nothing brings a community together like impending doom
and the wrath of God. Since I was born and raised
in the suburbs of Kansas, I firmly believe that it's the
only way to deal with Mother Nature, and ultimately,
prevent disaster, and almost certain destruction.
It's always been that way here in Kansas.

2 howled back:

sparsely kate said...

Oh I loved those descriptions, that was very cool to read! The only thing I can relate it to in my experiences is when we lived in a tropical zone up in Darwin, N.T. We would have cyclone alerts...but mostly it was an afternoon electrical storm that had people bothered.
In the wet season, the sky would turn grey and the clouds would roll in just like you desribed. The weather would be hot and humid and suddenly everything took on a strange and enchanted feeling before glimpses of yellow streaks would pounce out from the grey clouds. And the thunder would roll like it was underneath your feet. The foundations of the house would shake could get quite scary. All houses in Darwin have a safe room, which is pretty much a bricked up room with a cement floor where you stored all your photo albums and good stuff.

In Canberra, nothing much exciting like that ever happens. Canberra can get scary in the summer time when the threat of bush fires is real...but as for storms? Boring!!

Auburn haired artist said...

Oh my Gosh, Poor pete would have an absolute breakdown with storms like that !!! My dog is such a wussy !