The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Monday, March 13, 2006

Sleeping With My Shoes On

I woke up last night around 1 a.m. The weather outside was really bad, so I turned on KNWA to check the weather. I was still rubbing my eyes when the weatherman said that Washington County was under a tornado warning and that they had pinpointed the "rotations" as being around East Huntsville Road. Wow, I thought, that's close. Thunder clapped outside louder and louder. Real close, I thought.

I put on my clothes really quickly. I picked up my phone and called some neighbors to warn them. Then I just sat in my bathroom and watching the weather.

I was sitting there on the toilet. It sounded like it was starting to hail outside. I started to laugh. I couldn't stop for a minute or two. I must admit that I have always gotten the giggles during the most inappropriate times. (My mother and sister can vouch for this because I used to laugh hysterically whenever my sister would get in trouble and get spanked. I don't know why, I just would have a hard time controlling my laughter.) I began to laugh thinking about the time I was in a house that got hit my a tornado.

My friend Jim and I were in a perfectly safe and sound building whenever the tornado warnings were issued. But he said he had to go check on his fiance. So we got in his rental car, I don't remember why he had a rental car, and sped over to check on her and her family. When we got there, he told me to wait in the car while he made sure they were okay. The rain was coming down really hard. I finally decided that I was going to go in because it was looking pretty bad.

I ran inside and shook the water off my shoulders. They made me take my shoes off at the door, which looking back was the worst idea. They didn't want to mess up the carpet. The wind started getting bad. We sat in the living room for about a minute and then we all decided that it was time to get in the bathtub. I was kneeling on the outside of the tub and we all huddled together.

I have heard people describe a tornado as sounding like a train. I didn't think it sounded like a train. It sounded to me like a Satan owned a 747, and he was landing on the dining room table.

The women were screaming loudly and directly into my ear. When the tornado had passed, Jim's fiance was still screaming. She was screaming and crying about her dog. After about a minute of that I looked up and said, "Hey, knock it off. Everyone is all right. We'll find your damn dog."

We walked out and found the front room had been pretty much torn off the house. Jim and I also found our shoes filled with glass. We borrowed some shoes and went out walking through the debris. Everyone around the neighborhood was all right, but the neighborhood took a lot of damage.

We helped out where we could, but after a tornado, no matter what you do, it just seems insignificant. The randomness of it all is what really shakes you up. Why is one home is destroyed and another one is fine? It makes your soul tremble trying to figure it all out, and when answers never come it troubles you for a long time. But you just try to remember how lucky you are, and thank God for it.

If I learned anything from that experience, I have learned that if there is a tornado, you need to have your shoes on your feet. Because you never know.

So last night, after the tornado warning had expired and I had drifted outside to check everything out, I went back to bed fully clothed and ready to go with my shoes on.