Not the answer, silly person, but the trees, debris, cattle and any other manner of things.
We’ve been under one tornado watch after another and I can’t stop humming the Wicked Witch’s theme from the Wizard of Oz. Dum de dum de dum dum!
It’s not nearly green enough outside for anything, so I’m not really worried, although I am keeping an eye on things. The most I’m seeing is tons of “helicopters” spinning around. (helicopters are oak tree seeds that spin to the ground)
This photo of Mountain Pines RV Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I guess I was 15 or so when my family took a trip to the Laurel Highlands (home of Rolling Rock beer) and a campground named Cutty’s. (now known as Mountain Pines) We owned a 28 foot motor home and would pick up and go whenever the mood struck my father to do so. This campground had a huge pool, a roller skating rink and a very active arcade. I remember hanging out at on particular pin ball machine, watching some fairly handsome guy working the flippers while Foghat’s “Slow Ride” played on the jukebox. Complete with my Vidal Sassoon jeans (oo la la, Sassoon!) my feathered “do” and the required big handled comb stuck in my back pocket, I spent most of the afternoon flirting with the guys in the arcade, which, I found out later, annoyed the hell out of my sister.
Near the end of that hot and humid day, the sky became overcast and the clouds were whipping around in strange formations. Everyone began to scurry back to their campsites as the air grew thicker and thicker and started to turn green. Thunder was growling close by and the trees started whipping around in different directions. I hurried back to our camper and got inside just as the first fat drops of water began to pelt the ground.
My mom, ever fearful of storms, sat near my father and held onto her little dog. (ok, I hear the Witches theme again – “And your little dog, too.” funny thing is, we had a Cairn terrier – that looked just like Toto) and rocked. My father had his cup of instant Sanka and a Lucky Strike cigarette between his fingers. Elbows on his knees, he was alert and you could tell he was just a bit worried. After all, his entire family was inside a 28 foot missile, parked in a tornado snacking area. Since everyone knows that trailer parks are tornado food, campgrounds are the snack bar.
The camper swayed back and forth in the wind and the sound of the rain and thunder were deafening. I knew some of the gusts were pretty strong, since my dad’s eyebrows would shoot skyward and he’d casually look around and mom would grimace and make a hissing sound as she sucked air in between her teeth. The sheets of rain were so thick, you could barely see out the windows and the green tinge to the air was what I really remember the most.
Luckily, the storm vented its fury and we were spared, only to learn later that a tornado was, indeed, just over the mountain from us. Thanks to geology, the snack bar was closed for that afternoon.
After the rain stopped, everyone began to emerge from their shelters to look at any damage. Tents were not in the best shape and grills and other paraphernalia had to be recovered from neighboring sites. We kids, however, not really recognizing the close call we’d just had, wanted to be outside and play in the cooler air. I decided to go check the arcade to see if my pinball buddies were still there, (oh yes, I am certainly single-minded when I want to be) but they weren’t and so the swings looked like the next best thing. My sister joined me and we began to notice how different the sky had become. Everything was bathed in the most beautiful golden orange haze, which was accentuated by the setting sun just starting to peep out from under the clearing clouds. It was like looking at everything through a Creamsicle colored lens. Swinging back and forth, singing “Slow Ride”, feeling the difference in the air and looking at the strange orange sky is a moment that sticks with me every time I think of tornadoes.
When we left the campground the next day, it became clear how close of a call we’d had. Snapped trees and debris were everywhere. But that was just something I saw in passing because I was still singing “Slow Ride” and thinking of orange skies.