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  • Corey and I sat on the front porch watching the storm. Our cabin sat about one-hundred yards from a river and we watched the wind shake the trees that crowded around it's banks. We were on the crest of a hill and we could see our field, the river and then the Texas hill-country rolling up and out to the west. Lightning bolts were lighting up the clouds which were ominous green, glowing with the sun hidden deep within.

    As two young boys always in search of adventure, the appropriate response to every thunder clap and every howl of wind was awe and excitement. We'd scream into the storm, "wow" and "cooooool". We sat on our porch swing, determined to confront with all the bravery we could muster the fast approaching storm that towered impossibly high in the sky. Each spike of adrenaline grew more intense as the interval between each burst of light and boom of sound grew shorter.

    It was our mom who finally forced us to give up our game of chicken. She called us in saying that it was getting dangerous outside. We protested and enjoyed the feeling of relief. A few minutes later the front porch, tin roof, deck and all, was in our backyard. Our brother Troy, a baby at the time, had been sleeping through the noise. Mom sent me to bring him from the area we called "the bedroom" in our one-room cabin into the "living room". She was worried and wanted to have all her chicks near her.

    I don't remember much of what was said or what I was thinking but I clearly recall how wide everyone's eyes were. There wasn't a basement to hide in and there wasn't time to strategize so we all just stood there with wide eyes not saying anything. The cabin seemed to vibrate. The air was full of all kinds of strange noises layered atop a deep rumble that was getting louder.

    We just stared as the roof of our little cabin was lifted up like the hinged lid of a box. I wish I could have recorded the sound of all those nails and bolts tearing out of their places. It was a great tearing, bending, breaking sound. The gap between the roof and the wall opened like a puppet's mouth. I was afraid the roof was going to fall in and considered jumping inside the bunk-bed behind me for cover but the thought of getting squished or trapped between the two beds deterred me.

    The gap reached a height of four feet or so and then the wind gently set our roof down leaving a space of three feet. Everything was quiet and we all looked at each other. And then it started raining...right through our new sunroof. The rain woke us from our stupor and we scrambled to move everything from the wet side of the house.

    Later we'd find that the space on the bed where Troy had been sleeping was covered in broken boards and nails. We'd find that the enormous oak tree that shaded our house (so big that my parent's joined arms couldn't reach around it) was broken in half. We'd see that the barn and the horse stables across the river had been demolished by the tornado. We'd tell people about the close call with Corey and me on the front porch and Troy on the rubble-covered bed and we'd say how well God took care of us.

    Photo from Tuquetu
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