Waiting for the storm to pass

Seeing this picture I had taken during a thunder storm reminded me I had never experienced a typhoon while living in a house until I moved to the spot where I am now about 15 years ago. Up to that point, I had been living in concrete buildings. Of course, there are no typhoons or hurricanes in Cleveland OH. Once in a while we do get very bad rainstorms, and every season tornados threatened to carry off someone's home. Although I have experienced many tornado warnings and tornado drills when I was a child, I've never come close to experiencing a real tornado. I suppose I should count my blessings. Having a house blown from around you like one of the Three Little Pigs living in a house of twigs or straw is probably not something anyone should live through. It most certainly is not the last thing you want to see happening to you before moving on to the next realm.

Two or three years ago, there was a super typhoon that rolled through my town. We were all encouraged to evacuate to the local shelter. When I called to see if they would take pets, they said that they would not, so I volunteered to stay home with my dog Lucky. I couldn't imagine leaving him alone in the dark to survive by himself. If things went bad, he was going to need someone there to help him. Although I encouraged everyone else in the house to go to the shelter, no one wanted to go. So, we all hunkered down inside and waited for the storm to pass. I remember my daughter calling from Boston with tears in her voice. She desperately wanted me to go to the shelter and could not understand the logic of staying behind. She wasn't alone. Most of my friends thought that I was some kind of idiot to risk my own well-being for the sake of the family pet. Those people don't have dogs so they cannot understand that lucky is more than just a pet. He is a member of the family and, as such, has just as much right to survival as any of us. Just as I would not have left any of my children at home alone if, for some reason, they were not welcomed into the shelter, I was not about to leave Lucky. Besides, he needed my help more than the children because he cannot take care of himself.

Fortunately for us, the typhoon passed and the house was left standing. The first year we lived in this old wooden structure there was a typhoon that seemed even bigger then that super typhoon. I remember how violently the walls shook and how afraid I was that the windows would be smashed out by the wind or flying branches of a tree. I brought the children's mattresses into the largest room of the house and placed them in the space that was farthest away from the windows. I didn't want flying glass to find its way across their tiny faces or into their tiny arteries. Although we were frightened out of our wits, it was a memorable moment as we bonded over our shared danger. In the chaos of the storm, we had no idea what would happen to us. All we had was each other. We huddled together to keep each other safe and waited for the storm to pass.

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