Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Big One

There I was, calmly watching the 10 o'clock news Sunday night, when out of nowhere, I was dumbfounded by the stupidity.

A storm chaser had the audacity to say they were in Kansas hoping for a big tornado. I believe the chaser was from WGN out of Chicago.

Does this guy realize they were beaming his image into living rooms across Kansas? And does he realize that we Kansans might be somewhat offended by that statement?

I wanted to reach through the screen and personally wipe the smile off his face.

I have seen what a tornado can do. I sang at the funeral of a man killed May 4, 2007. He was a man from my childhood, a neighbor of my grandparents. He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend and neighbor.

He was one of those killed by what has been termed the Greensburg tornado. And while the impact that May evening was devastating to the Kiowa County town, it didn't just happen to Greensburg.

A Stafford County sheriff's deputy who was trying to keep the rest of us safe was also killed during the May 2007 tornado.

And the very next night - on May 5th - even more of my Stafford County neighbors and friends lost homes and property during another outbreak of severe weather and more tornadoes.

I have close friends whose rural home was totaled by the tornado in May 2007. And then, just a year later, we helped those same friends clean up the farmstead of his childhood home. While we rounded up cattle and cleaned up debris, his sister was in a Wichita hospital. Her recovery took months.

My friends at the Trousdale United Methodist Church lost their church in 2007. I took breakfast to their worship service in a member's home that following Sunday.

For a freelance writing assignment, I interviewed Greensburg residents who were working to rebuild their United Methodist church at the same time they were rebuilding their homes, their schools, their livelihoods and pretty much every aspect of their lives.

I was glad I didn't know about the tornado that struck Chapman and Manhattan until after it was over. My son was in a fraternity just 2 blocks south of where another fraternity had considerable damage.

One of the blogs I read regularly has posted about how a tornado changed life in her small Kansas town. I would encourage that WGN guy to check out Easy Street.

Would he still be able to grin when he talks about chasing the big one?

My parents were not worrywarts when it came to storms. We didn't run to the basement at the sight of dark skies overhead. But I do remember hearing the roar of a tornado as it went over our house one scary night while we were huddled together in the basement. The house was spared, but irrigation systems were not.

So I am appalled when someone has the audacity to say they are hoping - yes hoping - for a tornado outbreak.

I am thankful for meteorologists who warn us about severe weather. I know their work has made it possible to save people by making us aware of the dangers. I appreciate that some of the storm chasers do it to collect weather data.

But I still don't want to hear from some out-of-town tornado groupie that he hopes for the big one. He's talking about my home, my friends, my neighbors - whether they live down the road from me or halfway across the state.

My hugs and prayers to any families whose lives were changed in yesterday's storms in Kansas and Oklahoma.


  1. What a great message Kim; I really think nature needs to be respected and not dangled or sought after like an expensive pair of jeans!

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

    (sent over by your youngest sister, and a fellow blogger, come on over when you can http://thesinglemotherschronicles.com)

  2. Great comments !

  3. I used to love storms. I thought it was fun to watch them roll in. And then... well, I will never feel that way again. Nature is an awesome, magnificent, fearsome thing. I cringe every time it gets stormy. I'm sure you do, too!

  4. Great message, Kim. I absolutely love the new look of your blog! Always enjoy your photos.

  5. Monday night's tornado "skimmed" the roof of the nursing home I run in Dexter, KS, sucking it up and releasing it. Our residents and staff were fortunate it was not worse. It is sometimes overwhelming to know I am responsible for those lives and I thank God the staff followed the proper procedures that night.