Big storms here all last night: the tornado siren went off, I don't know, six or seven times -- I started sleeping through it after the third or fourth time, and we didn't run for the shelter after the second. I decided I would rather die.
(The shelter is not in our house, or even near it: it is behind the Cook School, which is over a mile away. So, to get to the shelter, you must leave when you hear the siren. You get in the car, driver through the pelting rain and hail. When you get to the Cook School, you park out front. Then you run, through pelting rain and dark and hail, trying to stay on the path, generally in vain -- last night I went off the path, into the mud -- it has been raining since mid-March here -- grasping the hand of your terrified nine-year-old, around back behind the school to the shelter. You can find the shelter, if the power hasn't gone, by the bright light outside its door, and by the stench of smokers: no smoking is allowed in the shelter itself, so smokers congregate outside the door, in its covered foyer: to get inside, we must cross this fog of damp smoke, shouldering through about thirty edgy and very damp Arkies.
Once inside, the shelter, which doubles as a gym, is bright and full of muddy children, their sodden parents, elderly folk towing oxgyn tanks, barking dogs, and and squawling infants. A dozen or so children will be playing some sort of game all through the gym -- last night they had a balloon, and were doing that game where you don't let it hit the ground. Last time, I remember, it was soccer, only with a volleyball. We usually bring books, even though it is always too noisy to read them. And too wet.)
We did not die. The storms kept coming through, bangy and crashy. The tree across the street blew down. The backyard is a lake. Every school in town, except mine, cancelled classes today, so the kid has come to work with me. But other than that, and all the sleep I did not get, all's well here --
12 hours ago