Saturday, July 07, 2007

remember the scene from "twister" when they run in the barn and it's full of huge blades and they say "who ARE these people?!" amateurs, that's who

Okay, so they weren't real tornadoes. Sure, they were funnel clouds that ripped trees right out of the ground and the force of the wind was so strong it took two people to open a door on the INSIDE of our house, but whatever. Apparently those things do not a tornado make. Not enough flying cows, I guess.

But when I was in high school, we had some fake tornadoes in the Pittsburgh area. Or, more specifically, in my backyard. Took a huge tree from our property line and deposited it squarely in our yard. That tree was always our bitchy neighbor's when she was talking about cutting it down, but once nature did it for her, it was our responsibility to dispose of it. Which, to my father, meant "firewood!" and to every snake in western Pennsylvania, "yay! a new place to coil up and then spring out of at a truly surprising speed!"

Back to the story. If we were in Kansas, those alarms would have been blaring. But since this is western Pennsylvania, where we don't get tornadoes even when we get tornadoes, we don't have those. But the house was shaking and the sky appeared to be upside-down, so we thought "Ahh! All these years of being the only people in the this area (and century) with a root cellar have finally paid off!" (or so we thought) and so we went downstairs and the three of us and Madison (because our father was where he always was at dinnertime on a weeknight: work) squeezed into the root cellar, which, as the safest place in the house, had been packed chock-full of shit in the event of just such an emergency.

But not just any shit. No, no, only the most dangerous shit can be stored in your family's emergency shelter, especially if you have two children. We weren't even allowed in there lest we do something stupid and reckless, like clean it.

There was a windshield from some car we didn't even own anymore. Gas cans. Kerosene lamps. A scythe. I swear, a scythe. This wasn't even the only one we had. There were two others hanging in the regular part of the basement. This appeared to be the emergency scythe, the hoarded stash in case he had to suddenly harvest some wheat. In 1894. Who in '90s American suburbia owned not one but many scythes? I'm surprised there weren't nuclear warheads down there. For all I know, there were.

You know how people always say it sounds like a train? It totally sounds like a train. At first, I thought that there were cars coming up the driveway, but then when it got louder, I realized what it was. Probably the only one of us not convinced we were all about to die in one of a myriad of ways (and suddenly with the urge to look over our life-insurance policies) was Madison. He was much more interested in shedding every hair on his body directly onto my face while crawling so high on my lap that I think he was moments away from molecular bonding. Not that I minded.

But because I crawled into that stuffed storage locker of death/emergency storm shelter with my mother, brother, and furry companion, I did learn something very important about my family. We came across some old letters and postcards written by my grandmother, my father's mother and read them. They were all postmarked in Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947. The face you just made is nothing compared to the one we all made.

You have to admit, it would be one hell of a satisfactory explanation.


Scott said...

LOL Oh the build up... and then the Climax. Nicely done. ::clap clap clap::

BTW, no, we don't get tornadoes in Pittsburgh. We get strong winds that cause a pavilion to fly away and decapitate someone at Kennywood, but we don't get tornadoes. Nope, not in this town.

Cindy said...

Were there Festivas packed in there as well? Please tell me there were. Oh PLEASE!!!

Nate said...

We actually had 2 tornados touch down in Western New York last year and the year before. Everyone knows it was just wind damage, but some crackpot government officials said that it was so severe, they called it an f-1. Fucking idiots *sigh*

To be honest, the Scythe part made me laugh. Who would suspect a serial killer who kills random people with a scythe? Only the Bookbinders, that's who!