Last night I went to hear some live music with a friend. Early in the evening I watched TV for a little while. There was a weather advisory scrolling across the bottom of the screen about tornados in another county. I never did see my county listed, so I didn’t pay much attention to it.
A couple of hours later I left to go pick up my buddy. As I was driving to his house I kept seeing trash and debris fly sideways in front of me. It wasn’t raining, there was just a lot of trash and leaves and stuff flying around. I thought to myself wow, that’s some strong wind, this probably isn’t a good place to be. It didn’t occur to me to turn around or stop.
About five minutes later, as suddenly as a light comes on in a room when you flip the switch, it started raining. Hard. It was blowing in sideways, and it was raining hard enough that with my windshield wipers on their fastest setting I could only catch glimpses of the road in front of me. Again, I thought to myself this isn’t good, but I still wasn’t putting all of the pieces together.
Then hail. First only one. Then another. Then continuous. It sounded horrible, I was scared. It looked big.
Finally my brain caught up. Shit, I’m driving into the storm cell!
I stopped in the middle of the street because I didn’t know what else to do. I was dumbstruck by the fact that I hadn’t caught any of the clues. I was scared that the hail was going to come through my windshield. I was scared that a tornado was going to pick me and my truck up and slam us against the office building next to me.
I even said it out loud. “Jesus, I’m scared. I’m not having any fun and I don’t want to be here anymore.” I don’t know why that was my prayer, its just what came out.
I saw a drug store with a covered drive through window and I drove straight to it as fast as I could. I could hear and feel the hailstones under my tires as I drove. That freaked me out even more.
When I was safe under the drive through, I called my friend. I told him I wanted to go home. He said there’s only one small cell on the radar, and its passing quickly. You must be under it now, he said. I told him I’d get to his house and we could figure it out from there.
I got to his house about 10 minutes later, and by then it wasn’t even raining anymore. The sky was clear, you could look up and see stars. The road was covered with leaves that were blown off of trees and one of his neighbors trash cans had been blown into the middle of the street.
We did go to hear the Joe Richardson Express. After being so freaked it was cool to sit and have a couple of beers while listening to some great guitar playing.
Thanks Jesus for keeping me safe last night.