A couple weeks ago, we had some severe weather watches all around the state because of possible tornadoes. A weather watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a tornado. A warning means that severe weather is imminent. According to Webster’s dictionary, imminent means likely to happen without delay; threatening or impending.
My daughter and her husband and children live in Iredell County, which was under a tornado watch for several hours. As is the case in most households today, several members of their family have phones or such devices which sound off whenever there is a severe watch or warning. On one particular day, all of my daughter’s family happened to be in the house when all of their phones, etc. started sounding off at the same time. When they checked their devices, the message informed all of them about the tornado watch that had gone into effect for their area.
When our grandchildren saw those messages, it really scared them, especially the two younger girls. Of course, they all wanted to know what a tornado watch meant and wondered if they were in any danger. Their parents explained to them about a tornado watch and the fact that one had not yet been sighted. Then they told them what to do in case of a tornado — such as get in a safe place in the house.
The girls left a few minutes later and went upstairs to their room, presumably to play. Almost an hour passed by before the ones left downstairs heard a bump, bump, bump coming down the stairs. When their mother went to check on what was making all that noise, she discovered the two girls were each dragging a big, black trash bag behind them. When she asked them what they had in the bags, they told her it was their stuffed animals. They then proceeded to leave the bags in the middle of the hall and went back to playing downstairs.
Both of those two girls just love stuffed animals and their room is so full of them that they can barely lie down on their beds without lying on top of one. When they get a new one, they then have to figure out what to do with one of their old ones just to make room.
When those girls went to their room and brought down their stuffed animals that day, they were looking out for what was important to them. Have you ever thought about what is important to you and what you would try to save in an emergency? Would you get family photos or a family Bible? Ladies, would you snatch up that pocketbook? Men, would you make sure you had your wallet? If you had time, you might have to make some hard choices about what to choose.
Most of our television stations tell us to be prepared for a tornado or hurricane by having a first-aid kit, blankets, batteries, food and water ready in case you need them. Then, you need to have a place to go where you think you will be safe — such as a hall closet.
In case of a fire, however, you would probably not have any time to worry about possessions, but would instead just be trying to make sure everybody got out safely. My family had a house fire when I was 9 years old. Thankfully, we were not at home at the time, but were visiting my grandparents about two miles away. When we heard about the fire and rushed back home, it was way too late to get anything out of the house. It was an old farm house and it burned up really quickly because the wood was almost like kindling.
Since I was just a child, it was hard for me to realize what was really happening until later when someone brought by some clothes for me to wear to church the next day. Then it hit me — all I had was the clothes on my back! Those other clothes I’d had were now just ashes. I had probably not been too fond of some of those clothes, but now they were all gone up in smoke — whether I had liked them or not. My parents were not rich either and I knew it was going to be hard for them to buy new ones for me and my three brothers.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize how devastating that fire had to have been to my parents. There are some things that just cannot be replaced — such as photos. I remember some of our extended family gave some pictures back to us so we could once again have those memories of our early years — before the fire. I can remember Mom said one time that she sure would like to have that sofa back that was in the house when it burned. It was a three-piece sectional and she had just really loved it. Personally, I remember liking it, but not loving it. If I can recall correctly, it was sort of a light pink; not a color you would find in most living rooms today. I guess we all have different tastes, right?
I feel like our area of the country has been truly blessed as far as our weather is concerned. When I see the devastation that’s happened all around us, I can’t help but thank God for watching over us and keeping us safe. I don’t think it’s something we should just take for granted but instead we should continue praying for our personal safety and for the safety of our country and praising God when he answers our prayers!
So once again, I’ll ask the question: What would be important to you in case of an emergency?
Azalea R. Bolton is a resident of Richmond County, a member of the Story Spinners of Laurinburg and a member of the Richmond and Anson County Historical Societies.