Friday, April 27, 2007

Storm Community

Three gruff buzzes sounded from the small black radio in the convenience store. My husband and I had stopped for fuel near Abilene, Texas and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) alert system sounded because of a reported tornado on the ground, 30 miles west of our location.

We’d planned to continue our travel west on I-20, but the interstate lay in the projected path of the storm.
The alert threw us a curve. With its predicted baseball size hail, we parked under an awning to wait for the storm to pass.

We weren’t the only ones who sought shelter in the convenience store. The manager about to go off duty informed the new shift that if hail began, no customers were to remain at fuel pumps. He gave further instructions: get everyone inside, lock the doors and herd all into a small storeroom.

Of the three new clerks on duty, with permission, one left to get her daughter and infant granddaughter at a mobile home park and bring them to the store. Another woman and her senior parents stopped for fuel and after hearing the threat of bad weather, decided to join our growing community of storm watchers.

Also, a neighbor woman joined us because of an alert system on her AT&T landline. The most interesting character of all was a cowboy, of sorts, with a wide brimmed cactus fiber hat, who arrived in a small pinkish car with his cow dog, Blue, a gray speckled blue heeler.

Within half an hour, jet engine winds and neon flashing clouds blew within a few miles of our location, but as the American Indian said about the lectern pounding preacher: “Big wind, loud thunder, not much rain.”

The fierce storm passed to the north without a drop of moisture on our location. Happy to avoid bad weather, we said goodbye to the newly formed community and each of us went our separate ways.

Something about the little group of forced-together, stranded travelers filled me with hope. In the few moments we had together, everyone was kind. No doubt if we’d stayed together much longer, we would have elected a mayor and school board. A familiar saying bears repeating: Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. For a few moments this week, kindness trumped a little group’s past problems or future worries. We were strangers in the night, but friendliness and kindness ruled the tense hour.

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  1. Cathy - I found your website a few weeks ago through a comment you'd left on preacher mike's blog and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your writing! You're now on my favorites list! And we live in Abilene, so I found this one especially interesting. Keep 'em coming! Blessings! Cindy Long

  2. Cindy, I'd love to see your blog, but can't seem to find it. Let me know the location if you read this message and thank you for the kudos...CM

  3. I don't have a blog -- just visit a few random ones and only occasionally comment. Think I'd have trouble coming up with enough interesting stuff to sustain one. But thanks for inquiring! Cindy