I’ve got stories..
Now, mind you, it has been a long time since I have told or tried to recount this story, some details may be off..
I believe I was about 5 or 6 years old when grandparents decided to drive me back to (from what I can remember) be with my mother either in Utah or somewhere out west. We were passing through Kansas in the center of Tornado Season driving into a never-ending open road. Looking out the window of this 1980-something Astro Van and thinking “I could see forever”. It is hard to explain to someone the appearance of what looks like your impending doom. Plains, for as far as I could see with the sun barely showing its light above them. And above the sun light was a very heavy, dark, fury of a storm cloud.
We stopped at a rest stop. Coming out of the stall to wash my hands my Granny was waiting for me at the sink. A woman rushed in. She was panicked and informed us a tornado had touched down and we had better leave. From that point till I was back in the van is a blank.
A little back ground on my Pa. My grandpa or Pa as I called him, was a large man. He played football for North Carolina. He was in the Air Force. He was my Pa. The greatest and sometimes meanest man in my world. He did not hesitate to let you know when he was angry but when he laughed or laughed at me, it was the greatest part of my world. He was like my father and my grandfather.
And that moment I saw the tornado.. I feel as though time sort of stopped for me. I don’t really remember what was said, or where we were even headed. I just remember seeing it. I don’t really think I was scared based on the fact that Pa seemed so set on driving past it. He had said that stopping under the over pass like the other travelers was a bad idea and that he had to drive past it. So… we did.
The steering wheel was shaking so aggressively from the winds he had both hands white knuckled, his arms and upper body shook with the steering wheel. I remember hearing him as he held on.. some sounds of frustration maybe? I don’t know what he was thinking or feeling. It was just him in that moment. I remember his face, and how he just looked straight ahead. I wasn’t afraid. I was mesmerized by it all I think. A tornado, and the three of us, in a van, outrunning it. And we did.. I don’t remember much or even how much of this is correct, but it is what I remember. I just hope I never forget it.