Monday, May 10, 2010

Where The Wind Comes Sweeping Down The Plain

Just got the news that tornadoes are raging tonight in my home state, Oklahoma. Who knew than when I phoned home briefly a few hours ago, only miles from my parents' house there were cars and tractor trailers getting tossed off the Interstate?
Leave it to KWTV 9, home of Gary England (the weather expert who appeared in the film "Twister"), to capture the jaw-dropping video and photos of the storms during sunset. Amazing!

Haven't seen TV news helicopter coverage of a tornado like that since the KARE 11 chopper won an Emmy for flying during a major twister in the Twin Cities (I later flew with the pilot of this video on April 19, 1995).

Growing up there, there was only one night when tornadoes got too close for comfort -- it was the night of my 12th birthday, and also a middle school band concert delayed by the citywide tornado alarms blaring (picture dozens of middle schoolers in formal band geek attire gathered in halls to duck and cover next to their clarinets and tambourines).

About 30 homes got blown away that night, including a residence next to, or that actually belonged to, the family of fellow Edmond resident Shannon Miller (at the time she was not yet on the Olympic scene, but as I recall, her memoirs mention the storm).

Tonight's breaking news photos are about as dramatic as the storms from that night back in 1985.

Writing about Oklahoma makes me think of the stage performances of "Oklahoma!" and some of the popular films in which song lyrics from the musical appeared. Two favorites, of course, are Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan singing "Fringe On The Top" at a Sharper Image store in "When Harry Met Sally," topped twice, first with the ensuing "wagon wheel coffee table" scened, then by Dr. Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs" with his epic quote (and music song title) "People Will Say We're In Love."

Here's hoping the folks in Oklahoma are safe and accounted for tonight -- may the storms quickly keep sweeping down the plain (and on over into Arkansas!).

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