Friday, August 19, 2016

"Ooooklahoma, where the winds come sweeping..." Enough! By Stuart R. West

Well, I imagine there aren't too many Okies singing that beloved song now.
Last week, a devastating, incredible wind storm blew through eastern Oklahoma. Some of you, not from the Midwest, might be scoffing, saying, "Oh my, Stuart, what's wrong? Afraid your hair will muss?"

A) I don't have any hair; B) people underestimate the power of wind.

How strong was it? It blew over a semi on the Turner Turnpike. Over 87,000 people were without power. One of the water suppliers lost some of their pumps, putting their customers on rations. A mobile home with a dog inside it was flattened (miraculously, the dog's okay). Finally, everywhere you look, trees are down, houses destroyed, people's lives in turmoil. And the local tree trimmer guys are set for life. The remnants of a war-torn battle zone.

Sadly, my inlaws were affected. The storm plowed through Broken Arrow, next to Tulsa, in Nature's indiscriminate and bullying way. (All photos are from their yard).

They live on a vastly wooded three acres and over half of their trees are down, some having fallen on the house. Karma smiled on them, though. Miraculously, the house is undamaged. My mother-in-law was out when the storm blew through but my father-in-law was at home. Apparently, he'd had no idea it'd happened. Maybe he had his TV headphones on. I'm sure when he went outside, though, he was in for a shock. Anyway...maybe it's good karma paying them back for the nice things they do. But the clean-up, ay-yi-yi!

My wife packed up her loppers and headed down. Her brother brought the chainsaw, his wife supplied tea and lemonade making skills. Unfortunately, I couldn't go because I wasn't supposed to make long car trips. Recovering from "major" surgery, don't you know. (Whew. Dodged that bullet).

But the clean-up crew could only do so much. One of the downed trees was thicker than a giant's thumb. No chainsaws could even begin to bite the bark. 
My inlaws had an estimate. Crikey. I need to get into that line of work. Sadly, the guy says he'll have to cut down another tree to get his truck into the backyard. Headache after heartache for them.

Still, the house is intact. So is their health. Unlike many other Oklahomans. My prayers and well wishes go out to them.

Never underestimate the power of wind. You can't do anything about it, I'm just sayin'. (And I never want to hear that happy song about Oklahoma wind again.)

Speaking of Oklahoma, my book Ghosts of Gannaway may take place in the fictional town of "Gannaway," but don't be fooled. It's loosely based (minus the ghosts, natch) on the town of Picher, Oklahoma, another nature destroyed town. Read it and weep and pull the covers up over your head!