Saturday, November 10, 2012
OKLAHOMA TWISTERS, CHICKENS AND ANGEL WINGS~
Excerpt From Red Dirt Rocker. Chapter 5, pgs 40-42
Aunt Carmen says or band is as organic as the horse manure in her south forty. I think that means that it all came together in a very natural way. We decided on our band's name after high speed winds forced me and the boys into the farm's root cellar one stormy afternoon. We were practicing when Aunt Carmen came busting through the barn door. She had a sense of urgency on her face, and ordered us to follow her while maintaining a controlled panic.
As we ran across the farmyard, I noticed the sky had turned a sickly grey-green color. Hail the size of quarters began pelting us. I spotted Mollie trying to squeeze through the lattice under the front porch and sprinted to pick her up. Aunt Carmen screamed for me to let her be, but I just couldn't. I grabbed Mollie, soaking my shirt with the skunky smell of wet dog, and jogged back to the shelter. I handed her down to the other boys as she grunted and groaned from arthritis. I then insisted that Aunt Carmen climb down the steep rickety steps before me.
As I held the door open for her, the hail stopped. It was as if someone had flipped a switch and blackness came. It became eerily calm. I started my descent down the cellar stairs. It was like a scene from a nightmare. I looked up to see the wicked side-winding twister that had emerged from the ominous squall line. The door fell shut with a sharp crack and we all huddled together in the darkness. The smell of garden onions and dusty potatoes was thick in the humid air.
Next came the sound...the forbidding sound that only a tornado makes. A growling, rumbling, whistling sound as though the 10:00 Frisco freight train had been diverted directly across the top of the root cellar door and was ready to fall in on top of us.
We were all paralyzed with fear as the twister roared over like an angry monster. I've never felt so small, so scared, so close to God. Aunt Carmen held the boys and me in her motherly arms and prayed out loud to Jesus. Dirt and wood splinters spun violently over our heads and it sounded like someone cracking open a pop-top can. The sucking winds ripped the door off the root cellar, but we didn't budge. It was all over in a matter of two terrifying minutes. The untamed twister disappeared back into the dark and thick rolling clouds.
Jake was the first to go back up. The boys and I hoisted Mollie up the stairs brigade-style. We expected to see a war zone as we emerged from our bunker, but to our shock and relief, the tornado hadn't done much damage to the barn or the house. They were both left virtually unscathed. The only things the twister took with it were an old rusty plow, two black shutters from the house, and the creaky wooden door to the root cellar.
The boys and I stood in disbelief as we surveyed the property. all the color had drained from Cody's face. He repeated over and over, "The cellar door is gone...the cellar door is gone."
"Cellar Door Is Gone...that's it...that's our band's name," I said in no more than a whisper. The hair on our arms seemed to practically stand up and shout, "Yes!" The boys heard me loud and clear.
The sun began to peek back out from behind the smeared, grey clouds. The cold drops of rain dissipated. Wispy chicken feathers, or perhaps bits of the snowy down of the angel wings that protected us that day, swirled around our tennis shoes. My band brothers and I shook our heads in agreement---Cellar Door Is Gone it was.
RED DIRT ROCKER~ by Jody French