So yesterday I was helping out the booster club for softball as they held its annual golf tournament. I was assigned to the 16th hole to let people know they could play from women’s tee for a donation. Leading up to the day, we knew bad weather was in the vicinity. The day started cloudy with a little drizzle of rain but nothing steady. It was even cool in the morning. The golfers teed off at 1pm and the round was going along fine. I really had a posh job…it required me to sit in a golf cart and just wait for people to show up. I had a great time visiting with everyone and even got to share some tips with our softball coach. When she took a practice swing, I had to tell her, “don’t swing it like a bat, Coach.’ I kept teasing her until she finally said, ‘fine, pro…show me how it’s done.’ Thankfully, I hit a good shot…and she and her asst. coach went about her day.
The afternoon progressed on and I looked to my left and noticed the sky was getting a tad darker and more weird looking. Around 4:30ish, I sent a text to the girl in charge of tournament and asked how many teams had finished. A few minutes later, the siren went off and the navigation system in the golf cart flashed “Lightning in the area, proceed at your own risk.” I turned the golf cart on and headed toward the clubhouse….along with most everyone else. We went inside and were chatting a little bit. Then another guy on our committee got everyone’s attention and said, “Excuse me, we have all been asked to go downstairs as severe weather is headed this way.” We stood outside a little watching the sky…then the rain started picking up. We ducked inside the garage and stood waiting to see what would happen. Next the power went out and all you could see was the lights from cell phones, blackberry’s and iPhones while people checked in with their kids, babysitters and loved ones. Debris began flying around the course…about 15 minutes later, we were back in the reception room and finished out the event with silent auction winners and team scores.
After everything was packed in the various cars, we headed out. I rode with the girl in charge of tournament and she was taking back toward my car. As we headed south, we looked toward the east and saw the sky still very weird. She was worried for her dog who was alone at her house…along with the house itself as she lived right under the eery sky. The rain had picked up by the time I got to my car so I dashed from hers to mine and headed west toward my apartment. I couldn’t help but shake my head as I drove home. The west side was fairly clear…the east was worried that the storm might hit them and I was thinking about what to have for dinner. Once home, I sent Kaycee (aforementioned girl who drove me to car) a text asking if she made it home okay. She said that her house had minor damage but a block before her street, those houses got hit harder.
The day after experiencing my first tornado is now almost over…but naturally, as if it was a big college game played on Saturday, the tornado was the topic of the day. As I reflect on the event that possibly branded me an “Okie,” I have to say that I was glad to have been around friends and colleagues yesterday. It had been an entertaining and fun day up until Mother Nature took over (Toby Keith and his wife played in the tournament…actually, we played on his course). Growing up in Texas, I had never experienced more than a bad rain storm…now I can say that I was told to ‘take shelter’ for a tornado…my heart goes out to all those whose homes were damaged and those who lost loved ones.