Like many of you, I have family and friends in Oklahoma, and I am happy to report that they were all okay through the recent swaths of destruction wrought by those sinister storms. One friend, a former colleague, lives in Shawnee, but she and her family were spared. Prayers answered, for sure. I have never been in a tornado or even seen one. There was an afternoon when I lived in Iowa and was driving toward Cedar Falls for a meeting. I turned the radio on when I noticed the weather ahead of me looked peculiar. The sky was black and green with dense clouds swirling low to the ground. The radio announcer started reporting that a tornado was just seen at such and such a place in Cedar Falls, and another one, and still a third.
At this point I made the wise decision to not drive on into Cedar Falls, just a few miles away. I turned off the highway and parked along a gravel road near a deep ditch. Shortly after, the all clear was sounded and I went on in.
My sister and her husband live outside Bixby, near Tulsa, and they have what she calls their "hidey hole," a concrete and steel tornado shelter deep into the ground. It has a heavy steel door with steel rods to hold it shut, steel steps leading down, and a heavy concrete and earth dome with a ventilation pipe overhead. Inside, there are two chairs, a table with a radio on it, and flashlights.
They spent time down there these last couple of days.
There are two old musicals that I enjoy. One is "Music Man," set in Iowa. I am partial to that one, being an Iowan. The other is "Oklahoma!" which is pretty good, too. But now, thanks to the tragedies these last few days in that fine state, I can never again hear the overture from the musical that sings forth, "Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plains . . . "
Please keep those people afflicted by the wind in your prayers