Cindy moved to Brookfield in 1994 with her husband and three children in tow. It's been a very interesting seventeen years.
I'm writing this in part as a follow up to our own recent tornado siren debate, and in part just to share my story. Of course you all remember the City of Brookfield debate that ended up in our spending another hundred thousand to update the equipment and keep warning sirens in our area going for a few more years. Though the media kind of tried to get a few stories out of it, the whole thing will little more than staff thinking one way and residents thinking another and the mayor and aldermen getting caught in the middle.
But, a couple of days ago, a tornado blew through Woodward, Oklahoma and killed five people including three children.
The siren did not sound because it wasn't functioning. And interestingly enough, as I hear it repeated over and over again on various news sources, little more is said than the very basic fact: the siren transformer was struck by lightening in the beginning of the storm. The story is proof that try as we might, we can't protect everyone from everything.
I'm grateful, even though a little fascinated, that news media has found little to say other than state the fact. So often they go out of the way to imply, if not openly place blame. In our case it would have been something along the lines of "the Common Council recently voted to let the sirens go silent." (Insert pregnant pause.) Had one come through without consequence the media would have had reason to champion "and the Common Council recently reversed a decision and kept the sirens functioning." My rambling point here? There's no winning with the media. Ignore them as much as possible.
But here's the rest of this story. I grew up going to the town devastated about once a month or so. My father built a dune buggy and we'd camp at Little Sahara State Park. (In fact, I learned to drive there, just in case that explains anything for one or two of you.) If something went really wrong - and it could as one time one of our group rolled his buggy and cut off his hand - we'd end up in Woodward. There isn't anything you'd call charming about that part of Oklahoma. People work hard and play hard in that corner of the state. In fact this was the weekend of the Annual Rattlesnake Hunt. And yes. You bet I have stories.
But now, that small Oklahoma town I knew as a child is grieving. And that makes me so sad.
All of this is my way of getting it out a bit, I suppose. Take a minute to check the batteries in your portable radio. Find a couple of flashlights. Storm season is creeping in, and you will want to be as well prepared as possible.