|The Associated Press|
Tornadoes are not "awesome" vortexes.
They are not meteorological Cialis for thrill-seekers and storm chasers.
Tornadoes are not a cost-effective source of the "Holy shit!" reality TV usually seen on The Weather Channel instead of, you know . . . the weather.
God did not invent them so that you might be amused and awed on Facebook . . . by viral videos shot by storm chasers "ready anytime the moment's right."
No, this is a tornado. Look at it hard.
You might have heard about this tornado. Before its arrival, there was a little town in northeast Nebraska by the name of Pilger, pronounced PIL-gur. After its departure Monday afternoon, there pretty much wasn't anymore. People say it "looks like a war zone."
Antebellum Pilger, Neb., was the home to a little girl, Cali. Her proper name was Calista, but she insisted that everyone call her "Doctor Cali," because that's what she wanted to be one day. She was 5, and "one day" will never come.
Because of a tornado. Writes Erin Grace in the Omaha World-Herald:
The Murphree family was new to Pilger. Kandi, who was raised in Kansas, had spent much of her adult life in Alabama. Then Kay said she could use some help. Les, who is 74, has a muscular problem that makes walking difficult. Kay had to have back and shoulder surgery.
In February, Kandi and the girls moved from Alabama to Pilger, into the Labenz home at 200 S. Main St., to help out.
A couple of months later, Kandi got her own place, a three-bedroom trailer about a block away, at 100 N. Main St.
Having everyone so close was a blessing. Kay and Les got to spend time with the kids. Kandi got help with child care.She remembers the roar. Then the dust. Then how, in seconds, it was all over.
On Monday, Kandi finished her shift at Prime Stop in Wayne and drove home to Pilger. Around 3 p.m., she picked up her girls from her mother’s home and took them to their place down the street.
An hour later, Les’ son called Kay and Les with a warning. Storm’s headed your way. Get to the basement.
Kay, who had poked her head out the door, thought the sky didn’t look too bad and scoffed.
Les said let’s go anyway.
It seemed to take forever to get to that basement, and they barely made it in time.
As the sirens screamed, Kay pushed Les up against the corner of the wall, stretching herself to cover him.
The tornado just came and went so fast that it hardly seemed real.PLEASE, go read the whole column in today's paper. You'll have a better idea of what a tornado is than if you had watched a million hours of weather porn on cable TV.
When Kay opened her eyes, she saw they were OK. Then she saw their basement filled with other people’s stuff.
Then Kay saw sky and the tornado, moving farther away. The funnel was huge.
All Kay could think about was her daughter and the little girls. She tried to climb out, but Les told her no, she might fall.
An hour later, a relative got there with a ladder, and the two emerged to find their world erased.
Their house was gone. A neighbor’s house was turned kitty-corner and sitting on top of the hedgerow. The co-op grain bins were torn and scattered.
Kay began heading toward her daughter’s place, but the mobile home had just disappeared.
Someone turned her around and wouldn’t let her go any farther.
That scared her to death, and Kay tried to find out what happened. The news, like all the debris, swirled around them in bits and pieces.
Kandi and the girls had been found on Main Street. Kandi was found lying there. Cali was found lying there. Robin was found running, running for help.
The Associated Press news photo atop this post -- may the copyright gods forgive me -- that's Cali being tended to by rescuers. That's a tornado. And that family, that's what a tornado destroys.
In Pilger, Neb., they can't change the channel. Remember that when you eventually do.