Amanda Pugh: Tornado Season (memoir)

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I am as Southern as grits, biscuits, and gravy, having the double blessing of being brought into this world in the great state of Georgia (Atlanta to be precise) and having my raising in the Volunteer State of Tennessee. I have been educated here and have worked here for all the years I have been able, and even though I have traveled to other places outside the South (aka Heaven) I know in my Georgia Peach heart that there’s no place like home!

Tornado Season

Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year in the South… no not Christmas, but …

Tornado Season!!! (Da duh DAAA)

It’s a part of life growing up here. Nothing can set your hair on end quite like a tornado siren. It can make a relaxing day turn into the most anxious-where you can go from thinking about nothing more strenuous than what tea to have later to watching every cloud that rolls by in the sky for signs of rotation. You turn into a weather analyst that would make the most advanced storm chasing team in the world proud. You make lists of things to grab and throw in your safe spot faster than the speed of light. You listen to every breath of wind for that tell-tale noise that tells you the big one’s a coming down the road ready to blow you and your loved ones away. You keep the cell phones charged and emergency services numbers saved in your directory. And if the worst should happen, you make sure you help your family and your neighbors as much as you can.

I’ve had some close tornado calls in my day, the biggest being 1999 in Clarksville TN. Ended up spending the weekend at a hotel with about 60 or so fellow students because the campus was so damaged. My own dorm had the AC unit ripped off the roof causing a lot of the rooms to flood… but we got off easy. Several buildings lost roofs completely and the grounds themselves were a wreck. One poor girl that took shelter in my room was from Alaska and had never even seen a tornado. Never saw her again after that night, bless her heart…

In 2003, one jumped my house.

An F2 tornado sounds a lot like an 18-wheeler that needs a tune up, did you know that?

Having nothing but a brick wall between myself and a tornado was not something I’d ever given a place on my bucket list, but there I was-on my bathroom floor with a quilt over my head, hysterical, sure I was minutes away from being dug out of the rubble of my house on the morning news.

Nope, never want to do that again.

Had a close encounter of the funnel cloud kind again in 2008, when a tornado almost decided to take out the store where I worked, but since God had a sense of humor that day, it decided to swerve and hit the Baptist college across the road. Thank GOD no one died, even though one of their buildings collapsed.

Can you blame me for being over sensitive when the least little cloud appears in the sky?

Today was one of those days. Tornado sirens going off, ominous clouds on the horizon, near constant weather updates from the local station, and clinging to the weather band radio like a life preserver.

I need an aspirin.

Y’all sleep tight.