Thursday, July 29, 2010

THE TERRIBLE TWISTER THAT TANKED THE THEATRE (or one of Gina's slightly embellished weather stories)

by Gina Welborn

You know you're from Oklahoma when the meterologist (Gary England) announces a Tornado Watch...and you and all your chitlin go outside to admire the rotation.

You know you're from Okahoma when a 'fraidie hole is at the top of your list for new home requirements...only because you want a spare room for parties.

You know you're from Okahoma when you watch TWISTER...and fastforward though all the boring non-tornado scenes.


If my husband weren't a pastor to students, he'd either be a stock market bajillionare or a dirt-poor, ball-cap-wearing weather spotter for the local news. Only he is a pastor, so we're blessed with his obsession for accurately measuring snow accumulation, taking eighteen pictures of a piece of hail (the shading was off), and going all giddy on us when a storm--ANY type of storm--hits the radar over where we live.

My 12-year-old daughter likes to tell people that she slept through the dreadful May 3rd tornado that ravaged Oklahoma City in 1999. She did. I had fun talking with the other folks with us in Bob and Vera Craig's storm shelter.

Nothing like bad weather for an excuse to party.

The beauty of Okahoma's varied weather can literally take one's breath away.

The roar of a tornado is auditory bacon to one's ear. That should say much coming from this non-legalistic vegetarian.

Moving to Virginia we knew our dreadful weather options would be more limited. Oh contraire.

Tornado? Check. Occured one month after we moved here. Everything in a five-county perimeter surrounding where the itty bitty F-1 tornado touched down was closed or cancelled. That should have been a clue to me at how, God bless 'em, unappreciative central Virginians are of destructive weather.

Blizzard? Check. Occured the second winter. Of course, this was when we learned two snowflakes means School's Cancelled. *sigh*

Deluge? Check. Overflow from the James River descimated Shockhoe Bottom. The worst part of it? Bottom's Up Pizza was closed for months. Months!!! It's not called Gourmet Pizza at it's Best for nothing. I want to go to there. Now.

Drought? Check. Not even the weeds in our yard grew that summer.

Fire? Check. Okay, so it wasn't a natural disaster, but a building or two near Virginia Commonwealth University burned.

Hurricane? Check. Isabel '05. She slammed into the Outer Banks then worked her havoc all the way up to Richmond. Lovely storm. She arrived the day Uncle Julio's opened in Stoney Point Fashion Park. Now after driving an hour and a half up to DC just to have some scrumptious Tex-Mex cuisine, hubby and I weren't about to let the encroaching tiger, not-overly-hidden hurricane come between us and cheese enchiladas.

Being the Oklahoma natives we were, we loaded up our four  (at the time) chitlins and headed to the 10-minutes-from-home restaurant. Yes, we were the only people there besides the employees. But since we had a server and a chef, we happily placed our order...and listened to the roar of the wind pounding the windows. Pure Bach....with a dash of cilantro.

By morning trees were down all over Richmond-opolis (due to the deluge we'd had that spring and most of summer). Six days of no electicity. It was freakin' AWESOME!!! We learned how to grill a can of biscuits. NOTE TO READERS: Open can, place dough in butter-drenched cast iron skillet and put on grill, and toss can into trash.  I actually could have gone outside to watch the sunrise because we learned to rise and slumber with the sun.  Not that I did. But I could have. What pioneers we were!

Child #2 who was five that summer even wrote a poem:
When the sky goes bloom
And the clouds go away,
And the people go hunting for seashells.
When the birds start to sing—they sing everyday—
The butterflies go to flowers, and they make the flowers grow.
I think they’re pretty, really, really pretty,
And I love you very much.

Nothing like a storm to bring a family together.

At the end of last month, during Vacation Bible School week, my kids...well, as to not embarrass them, I'll just say they were bad (at home). To each other. To me. To the dog. So I initiated the summer's "no TV/no video games/no computer" policy. They figured it'd last a week. Nope.

I figured they'd learn their lesson and be more loving toward one another. What I didn't figure is what I learned about them. They got along. They played together. They laughed, read, built forts, took the dog on walks, drew comic books, and didn't seem to miss what they were punished from. They cleaned their rooms. Mostly.

Prior to this summer, I would have never said TV added stress to my life. But it does. To my kids' lives too.

I really realize now how television, social networking, texting, etc., can become addictions. Stress inducers. So I challenge you, go a week without TV. Or if you've done that, go a month...say, August before the fall lineups begin. See what things you now have time to do.
  • Chase a dragonfly in the backyard.
  • Teach your daughter and a friend how to make cinnamon rolls or bake a pie.
  • Discover who's the best UNO player in your house.
  • Read a book written 15 years ago or more.
  • Write a book.
  • Take your family out to watch a movie under the stars...kinda like at Goochland Drive-In Theater where you can buy snow-cones for a $1 and get a Goochdog and indigestion for $2.
Life is meant to be lived. So live it. Only avoid drive-in theaters when a tornado watch/warning has been sounded. COW!


Ever watched a movie at a drive-in? What's your fondest memory? Oh, we don't care about fondness...tell us your most embarrassing story. We want dirt.

If you've never had a drive-in movie experience, then how do you manage you and your family's TV viewing schedule. Ever had a moment when you said, "Enough, go outside and jump off the roof. Or whatever you do, do it safely outside. For the rest of the day. Don't kill the dog. The cat I don't care so much about."

(No cows were harmed in the writing of this blog.)


  1. Hmmm, you have me all over the place. Thinking about Enchiladas and drive-ins and the OBX.

    Well, it's Thursday and I haven't mentioned my most extreme weather story yet. Rather than continue to deprive ya'll... A week without electric after a massive ice storm in March. I didn't have a grill. We ate cold or slightly warm food. Yes, we warmed things on top of our larger kerosene heater. You can go through a lot of Pop Tarts that way. Lived in one room of the house. We enjoyed the adventure.

    Drive In? I remember seeing the Love Bug there. The ORIGINAL Love Bug. But my favorite was taking my kids to their first drive in and seeing Disney's Little Mermaid. We still have a drive in 20 minutes from my house. Waiting for just the right movie that will draw me out of the house after 7pm. Hasn't happened in forever.

  2. I haven't ever been to a drive-in. I've always thought it sounded fun though. I'll have to look around and see if there's one nearby.

    You're right about cutting the kids off from TV for awhile. There are so many other things they can do and be active both mentally and physically. And I'm with you on the cat!

  3. Okay well as of my horrible weather story it would have to be a Hurricane in Florida.A week without power which means really cold showers, eatting MRE's which for non-Military people Meals Ready to Eat. The MRE's weren't really that bad I think the worst of it is five kids with no electric and there is only so many games of Scrabble you can play before you run out of words without looking in a Dictionary. I pray that all of you have a great day.

  4. Hi, Gina: Great post.

    I'm going to date myself here, but y'all know I'm a grandma anyway. I saw Psycho at a drive-in with my then-boyfriend now-hubby. Well, I saw MOST of it. I was on the floor under the dashboard for many scenes. His poor thumb is still a little crooked from my squeezing it just a tad too tight.

    Do they still have drive-ins?

  5. Deb, I think I saw The Love Bug at the drive-in. Granted, it was retro night. ;-)

    Ice storm in march?! That is extreme.

  6. Lisa, do look to see if there's a drive-in nearby. The one out by us opened a year and a half ago. I like that the owners are a young couple who've had a passion for creating a family environment. No alcohol allowed.

    Once a month on sunday night is Pet Night. We've yet to bring our dog, but I plan on it sometime. The crowd isn't as big so you start recognizing people.

  7. Connie!!! It's so good to hear from you.

    Scary movies and I aren't compatible. *shivers*

    The first movie hubby and I saw at our local drive-in was Aliens in the Attic. Something was wrong with the cut of the movie because we kept seeing the boom mic in scenes. So we played Where's Waldo...with the boom mic being Waldo.

    The second movie was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Hubby and I hadn't seen any of the other movies nor read the books so we kept plastering our friends with questions. Who's he? Is this important? Why does he hate Harry?

  8. Connie!!! It's so good to hear from you.

    Scary movies and I aren't compatible. *shivers*

    The first movie hubby and I saw at our local drive-in was Aliens in the Attic. Something was wrong with the cut of the movie because we kept seeing the boom mic in scenes. So we played Where's Waldo...with the boom mic being Waldo.

    The second movie was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Hubby and I hadn't seen any of the other movies nor read the books so we kept plastering our friends with questions. Who's he? Is this important? Why does he hate Harry?

  9. Louise, you win the weather trooper award!

    Next time you play scrabble, employ the Phonetics rule. If you can sound out a real word, then it goes. Just somethign I learned on a youth ski trip....after playing 7 games of Scrabble.

  10. @ Gina tell that to my brother who if it dosen't loook right it ain't a real word lol. Anyways, I just read a really amazing book and everyone please feel free to vist my blog as I am posting pretty much daily.

  11. What is it about drive-ins and tornadoes. I only remember one deceent sized tornado in Pittsburgh while I was growing up, and it took out a drive-in movie.

    Oh, and I do have an embarassing drive-in movie story. I went on a double date to a drive-in movie. My boyfriend and the other couple all attended my church and knew how strict my parents were about movies, but dragged me into a movie that was rated "R" anyway.

    Well, my mom could always tell when something was up. And although I would happily keep a secret, I could never flat out lie. Still can't. So sad. She came straight out and asked me if we had seen a rated "R" movie.

    So my dad called everyone into a Sunday school room and gave quite a lecture. Somehow our "we weren't watching the movie anyway" defense earned us no brownie points. Go figure.

  12. "Pure Bach ... with a dash of cilantro." LOL!!!


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