We had a tornado in Prairieville a few days ago. Not a tornado like, "My son Peter ate all the candy in the pantry and then frothed at the mouth while tearing up our house," kind of tornado. Like a real tornado.
It missed our house by two blocks on both sides.
I was at work when my coworker / friend / sometimes-running-and-gym partner Brannon came up to my desk. I'm not on Brannon's team any more so I rarely see him (even though he lives two blocks from me). He asked if I had heard from Betty and if everything was OK.
So at this point I was nervous and mentally preparing myself for a shock. What was wrong?
"Apparently there's been a tornado," Brannon said. "A tornado?" my face non-verbally asked. "Yeah, it sounds like it was bad all around us. You should call Betty and make sure she's OK."
It's great to have good friends, isn't it?
I called Betty and she was OK. Thankfully! She didn't even know there had been a tornado. She said it got really loud all of a sudden but she just thought it was due to the storm that was raging around her. Peter slept through it all. I told her to take him to the closet and sit there for a while, just to make sure. (Anne was at school.) Betty did that for a few minutes then went back to the recliner - it was worth it to keep Peter sleeping! Plus the tornado had already passed so it wasn't really necessary.
Everyone in Prairieville lucked out. Nobody was killed and we don't think anyone was hurt. A few trees landed in houses, and one landed on a car with people in it, but everyone got out OK. The firemen, ambulances and police were on the scene in minutes. Kudos to our first responders!
Nobody was hurt as far as we know, but there are several houses near ours that no longer have roofs. And our good friends Matt and Nicolvin, had they still been living out by us, would probably be staying with us right now because their old street is pretty much torn to shreds.
The sight of some of the houses around us make us sad. We used to see kids playing basketball on those driveways, and now there are tens of guys out frantically trying to fix up their houses. Some people out here probably don't have home insurance, ya know? Betty brought them donuts and muffins today, which was really sweet of her. Hopefully we'll be able to do more to help them, although I'm really awful with any kind of manual labor. (You do NOT want me helping to put your roof back on your house... just trust me on this, OK? Tornado or no, I'm not allowed to use power tools or scale construction projects.)
Our street was narrowly missed. Apparently the tornado started in a field on one side of our street, hit a few houses there, then receded... and passed right over us. Then it landed about a half mile away and destroyed some other houses there. We are so lucky.
Brannon's wife was actually outside on their patio when the tornado passed by, and when it went by it sucked all of the loose objects on their patio out and flung them all over their yard. She's really lucky that she didn't get sucked out.
So, we had a near miss, but we still feel like we've been through something incredibly stressful. And it makes us so thankful for all that we have, and it definitely makes us want to go out and help people - not just in our area who have been affected, but anywhere we can.
So the next time you're aggravated when stuck in traffic, dealing with a problem employee at work, or angry at Roger Goodell for suspending Sean Payton for a year... just remember, there are people out there that have it much worse than you do. Some of those people live two blocks from me. I'm going to see if I can do something about it. Please do the same for the people in your area!
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