Friday, April 25, 2014

A Random Tornado Story

I just heard there's a tornado watch in our area. I don't see one out there, though, so it seems a waste of time to sit here and try to watch it. Now, back in my college days, at University of Georgia, we had this one tornado warning — a twister had reportedly touched down very close to campus. In Georgia, tornadoes are something to take seriously. Gainesville, where my mom grew up, was utterly destroyed by a tornado in 1936, when she was very young. One of my relatives, William M. Brice, wrote a book about the tragedy, called A City Laid Waste. In the instance at hand here — 1980, I believe it was — because this tornado was in view of the UGA campus, the powers that be paraded the residents of my dorm down into the basement of the building, where it was supposed to be safer. Well, if you were on one side of the wall down there, it might have been safer, but in the common area, where I and several friends were sent, there was a bank of plate-glass windows that faced the lower parking lot. When my roommate, Steve, and I realized we were being set up to become shredded southern-style barbecue should that tornado come through, we decided we weren't going to stay there. I shall not right here admit to having done certain mind-altering substances in college, but I will say that I did have a rather different mindset then than I do now. Rather than seek a more suitable place of shelter, Steve and I hit the street and went looking for the offending windstorm.

The sky was black, pink, and green, and there was a prodigious wind pummeling us, but I think we walked a mile or so around campus, searching, searching, searching. Never did find that tornado. I don't know that I was disappointed, necessarily, though I might not have complained too much had the thing come through and taken down my dorm building. The bathroom kind of sucked.

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