Several years later, after we moved back to South Carolina, Rick and I drove together to pick up a car which had been repaired. We noticed dark clouds gathering as we started our journey through the countryside, which worried Rick, but I felt sure we’d be fine. As we left the shop in two cars, a pickup truck wedged between my muscle car and the Buick we’d just retrieved.
Not long after I started home, some pine trees began to sway as the wind picked up, even causing pine straw on the road to swirl and rise several inches. Thinking the trees might fall, I pressed the accelerator and zoomed up a hill. I checked my mirror a little later, but the hill kept me from seeing what had happened. Realizing Rick was no longer behind me, I stopped and drove back, only to find three pines across the road! They seemed so much larger on the ground. Noticing a strong pine scent, I found a car with a tree lying across the hood, but there was no sign of our blue car or the truck. I climbed onto the branches of one tree to get a better view. Still nothing.
Did a tornado take them away? I worried. Hoping Rick had taken another route, I hurried home, but he wasn’t there. A trash can lid had been blown several feet, so I knew it’d been really windy at the house. Without any idea of what to do, I did the only thing I could–I prayed for Rick’s safety and return. After awhile I decided to go out and look for him, and was starting out the door when the phone rang. It was Rick! He told me a tree hit our car, but he wasn’t hurt. He’d taken a detour, stopping at a house to call.
Thanking God for Rick’s protection, I waited impatiently for him to come home, then he told his story: “The trees started falling, and it seemed like everything happened in slow motion. One hit the windshield and hood of our car, so I backed out and found another way home.”
We stared at our Buick, which had a cracked windshield and dents in the hood. “I’m just glad you’re okay,” I said, giving Rick a hug. “But . . . what about the truck that was between us? I never saw it again.”
“It was between trees, then it drove over the tip of one to get out.”
“I don’t know whether to be mad or glad about him,” I said as we started toward the house.
A few years later, near Aiken SC, we were driving home, listening to the radio. There was a report of a tornado in the area, but we weren’t worried, since we were only a few blocks from our house. As we neared it, we spied a large round cloud hanging just above the rooftops. We could see lightning flashing inside it, and we heard rumbles of thunder coming from within. We hurried into our house, but soon the noise rumbled above our heads as the ball went over us. I’d never heard such loud thunder in my life! Waiting in the hall until the worst passed, I went to a window and saw the rounded cloud moving between two of our neighbors’ houses. It didn’t seem to rotate, and it moved slowly, so I didn’t know what it was, but Rick said it was the tornado. Perhaps it was a tornado inside the cloud. Whatever it was, it goes on my list of oddities.
Then a year ago, after we moved to another area, we were warned that a tornado was headed straight for our town. Sometimes more cautious than I am, Rick decided we should take cover in our bedroom closet. We managed to get our Siamese cat, Mocha, into his carrier, but our other, larger Siamese, Choco, refused to cooperate, so we decided he could fend for himself.
The three of us pushed into the closet and waited, even though Mocha wasn’t happy about it. We tried to comfort him, but he seemed to think he was being punished. How long this went on, I’m not sure, but Rick finally decided it was safe, and we released Mocha from his prison. We thought we’d eluded the tornado, but it wasn’t long before reports reached us concerning buildings in town that were damaged, and neighborhoods with trees down. We weren’t allowed to go into certain areas, and others advised us of problems. When we finally drove through town, we discovered trees on houses and buildings which were totaled (and later torn down). The two tornadoes which hit the general area were small compared with monsters that have plagued other portions of our country in recent years, but it took some time for the community to return to near-normal.
One other strange thing concerning tornadoes and us is that, although no one in my family had been affected by them earlier, five months before our last experience, our hometown in SC was hit by a small one which damaged the town section and wreaked havoc with my mother’s yard, while doing minor damage to her house and car.
We’re all grateful none of it was worse.