As we all know, I am fond of pulling out of context, the famous TS Eliot quote from the Wasteland, “April is the cruelest month….” This year, the severe weather season, which actually got a very late start, began a little over a week ago in Oklahoma and Arkansas with severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail. Once again, the small towns of Moore, Oklahoma, as well as Sand Springs and perhaps others as well got hit with a tornado. Thankfully, the damage and death toll was not as severe as from the tornado two years ago.
April–with its images of cute chicks and bunnies–can actually be a pretty vicious month, weather-wise if you live in the heartland. My immediate family has now all relocated to Oklahoma so I am very attuned to this fact.
In fact, when I was on my way to visit for the holidays, I had an interesting conversation as I was waiting to catch the plane. It was a Southwest flight, so those of you familiar with Southwest will know how you line up in boarding groups because there are no assigned seats.
I was talking to the woman in front of me as we waited for our plane to “Oklahoma.” (I thought that in and of itself was strange. Oklahoma’s a big place. But once I boarded and checked their maps, I realized Southwest only flies into one city–Oklahoma City–so that’s probably why they just call it “Oklahoma.”)
We got to discussing our reasons for travelling. She was returning home. I explained that I was flying to visit family. Somehow it came out that we didn’t grow up there–probably my accent–or lack of one, or different one. I said that we’d grown up on one of those islands off the coast of New Jersey that had gotten devastated in hurricane Sandy.
“Oh hurricanes!” she said in horror. “I could never live anyplace that has hurricanes!”
I was almost speechless for a second. Finally I sputtered, “But you have tornadoes….”
“Oh I’d much rather go into a shelter than have a hurricane!” she said.
I did explain that you get days of warning with hurricanes and that prior to Sandy, New Jersey hadn’t been hit with a hurricane in decades but she wasn’t having any of it.
So, as I often say about plants, if we all liked the same thing, what a boring world we’d have.