The boy who cried tornado.

I accidentally invented an Indian/Mexican fusion dish Friday night. I blame it on a mild case of weather-related panic.

As you’ll recall, when last we talked–well, I talked; you just read–it was Friday afternoon and we were under a Tornado Watch. I wasn’t really worried, despite the ominous sky and intense-looking line of storms the radar showed bearing down on us. Surely we weren’t in any real danger, right? So, I went about the normal routine: cooking dinner. I was making homemade taquitos, to take advantage of our new air fryer, and refried beans from scratch. We’re talking pinto beans soaked overnight, the whole nine yards. It’s a laborious and time-consuming dinner, one I hadn’t made in several years. No way was a little weather going to mess up my prep work!

Until our phones started blaring emergency alerts. The National Weather Service had upgraded the watch to a Tornado Warning. That was something I had never experienced before, so I was a wee bit flustered.

It’s kinda hard to focus on cooking when you’re afraid your newly purchased home could end up a pile of kindling, but the beans were at a critical juncture. I was at a point where I needed to add cumin, so I opened the spice cabinet, grabbed a bottle labeled CU blablahblah, added several liberal dashes to the beans…and immediately realized I’d just seasoned the beans with CURRY powder instead of CUMIN.


Well, I couldn’t undo the deed, and I had bigger metaphorical fish to fry anyway. “You must be used to these warnings,” I said to Tara, who had lived in Kansas for a couple of years in the late ’90s. “What should we do?”

I was expecting sage advice along the lines of let’s hunker down in the below-ground plant room or we should drag a mattress downstairs and huddle beneath that. Instead I got, “You need to put your shoes on.”

Wait. What?!

“In case there’s debris you have to walk through,” she elaborated. “You don’t want to cut your feet.”

IN CASE THERE’S DEBRIS TO WALK THROUGH?! If that happens, a few scratches on my feet are going to be the least of my worries.

As if dealing with incorrectly seasoned refried beans and worrying about incoming tornadoes weren’t enough, I was also in the midst of a text conversation with my son Rusty, who is living his best life in New York City. I told him about the approaching tornadoes, and did my eldest child offer up sympathy for dear ol’ dad? No, he did not. Instead, he laughed.

Too much, he texted. You gave yourself away lol.

Wait a second. He didn’t believe me? But why not? I’d texted him the above screen shot and everything. Oh, but wait: it failed to send.

Should of eased into the ‘it’s headed right for us’ part, he continued. With all those tornados recently you almost had me for a sec. 😂

The kid’s dad is about to die and he throws in a laughing-face-with-tears-of-joy emoji?! Fine, I never got him that robot dinosaur he wanted for his 8th birthday, but that’s just a bit harsh. I kept insisting I was in very real peril, and finally he started to believe me.

Not an April Fools joke? he texted. You’re known for those April Fools pranks!

Haha! Well, shit. He’s not wrong. There was the fake Batman tramp stamp last year. And the phony three-day work suspension for surfing porn the year before. The pet armadillo on Instagram. No wonder he didn’t believe me! I’ve developed such a reputation for tomfoolery that, when I announced we were moving to Wisconsin last year, Writer of Words flat-out did not believe me. She assumed it was nothing more than an August Fools prank.

Classic case of the boy who cried wolf. And that, my friends, is why I didn’t even bother trying to fool y’all this year.

I make no such promises for 2024, though.

Luckily, we escaped the evening unscathed, though there were at least four confirmed tornadoes–including one that tracked from Stoughton to Cambridge in western Jefferson County, where we live. About 11 miles away, which is way too close for comfort. They were small and short-lived, but still.

After all the excitement had died down and we had eaten the taquitos (delicious!) and curry refried beans (edible!), I called my brother and sister-in-law for a chat. When I told him about the tornadoes, Scott said, “I hope you put your shoes on.”

And then, in one of the best-delivered callbacks of all time, he added, “Sock-sock-shoe-shoe, of course.” I’ll remember that next time. Next time, incidentally, might be Tuesday.

Happy fool-less April!

51 thoughts on “The boy who cried tornado.

  1. I have to admit I’ve never thought of your part of the world as tornado country… but 11 miles is indeed too close. Tara sounds like my kind of woman. Unfazed and practical… though it might not be a bad idea to invest in a pair of those ruby slippers. Hope they come in your size.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tornadoes suck. Coverage of how they *might* be headed your way sucks. Having now lived through many a “non-tornado oopsie we over-reacted event” I’m more mellow about them. Tara has the right idea. Careful, but not crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Meteorologists have a tough job. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. I get that it’s their duty to protect as many people as possible by letting them know potentially dangerous weather is headed their way, but by their very nature—tornadoes are pretty small—the odds of them affecting any single person are pretty slim. Gotta give ’em the heads up, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re just like the kids who refuse to learn pranks only come back to bite you in the ass somewhere down the road!I am glad the tornado chose not to level the new house though but do you see how there could have been some sad irony if it had😏😭

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  4. We had seven tornado warnings in the region last evening but the closest to us was about 20 miles away. So far, I’ve only heard of one that was confirmed. That being said…when I stopped at my first intersection of the morning, a massive evergreen tree which yesterday was standing completely vertical was now completely horizontal. Sometimes ya don’t need a tornado to make a mess. Glad the curry beans didn’t make a mess of the meal.😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yikes! We saw some downed branches and a couple of split trees yesterday when driving through one of the areas affected, but hard to know whether that’s tornado-related or they have been like that for some time.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hilarious that your kid didn’t believe you. The shoe thing is important for earthquakes, too–I’ve had entire cabinets and refrigerators open during quakes, dump everything out, and shut again. Had to walk over a lot of broken glass in the kitchen.

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  6. I’m surprised you’ve never lived through a tornado warning anywhere? I feel as though we have them once every 3-4 years here. I remember spending lots of time in our basement, growing up. My mom was uber safety conscious/paranoid.

    However, my bff texted me yesterday that a few tall fir trees fell on their house on Friday night, busting through the roof and breaking windows, but there was no report of a tornado. I guess 70 mph winds will do that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did live in Ohio for three years in the ’70s, and actually, we were at summer camp one year and ushered into a tornado shelter beneath the swimming pool in the middle of the night. Turns out a funnel cloud passed right overhead. I’m sure there was a Tornado Warning for that one; I just wasn’t awake (or informed enough) to know anything about it!


    1. On the plus side: all the local news stations don’t send reporters all over the city to report back live on that one-inch dusting of snow snarling traffic on I-5, as they do in certain unnamed municipalities that rhyme with Cortland…

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  7. We go through them every so often in Michigan, and thankfully not too frequently. I can see why your son theogony you were prancing him and think you should take to sleeping with your shoes on )

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to admit, I wasn’t entirely sure all the way through this post whether you were kidding or not. The timing and the ruby red slippers were just a little too perfect.

    But you’re right, your brother had a fantastic call back line! Sooo good! Glad you guys (and your house) are okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad your new house isn’t firewood for your new backyard bonfire. 😊

    We were in the basement watching this line of 90 MILES PER HOUR WIND play out on live (on radar) on television and then it just….stopped. It was the weirdest thing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We turned the TV on searching for a local news channel, but when we found one, the broadcast was from two hours earlier. Which confused us at first (and provided a false sense of security) because there was nothing dangerous-looking on their radar at that time.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Good lord. That is scary.
    I love Tara’s advice; being barefoot would have only added to the horror of it all. (I always wear shoes, so I’m always ready, I suppose)
    I had a good giggle at your Curry Refried Beans. HA!

    Thanks again for bringing up the Shoe, Sock, Shoe Sock bit. I THINK OF IT EVERY TIME I PUT ON MY SNEAKERS/SOCKS. Get out of my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Eesh! Those things freaked me out so much when I was a kid and we had the drills in school. Never actually experienced it, though, thankfully because curry-beans is too frightening. Okay, just kidding. I meant the tornadoes, but still. Eesh on both. 🙂

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  12. Glad y’all are safe. Tornado watches/warnings are fairly routine around here so I’m glad we have a basement to go to when things get rough. I rarely go barefoot anymore so my shoes are already on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was under the illusion we had a basement for the first couple of weeks we lived here. Then I found out it isn’t actually a basement. How does that happen, you might wonder? Guess I’ll have to blog about that. I’ve been meaning to anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Tornados – just one of the many disasters, natural and otherwise, I do not miss about TN! The weather and the politics there just keep getting worse and more dangerous. Most of the victims, I’m sure, didn’t “volunteer” for what they got. The best I can hope for, from afar, is that the newer and younger volunteers aka activists may be able to improve some things there. If it gets done there, I might even get some hope to see the same in other red states.

    Liked by 1 person

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