Tornado Week

Boy. Has it been quiet around here or what?

Well, the blog, at least. Here at the Finkbeiner Hacienda we’ve had a bit of excitement. Quiet isn’t exactly the word for the week we’ve had.


half a pine

top of pineplay house


The thing about a tornado that pops up all-the-sudden is that there isn’t time to be scared. Not really. The terrified shaky feeling comes afterward.

All I had time for was to pray that the roof wouldn’t fly off and the windows wouldn’t get smashed in. I forgot to pray that the trees wouldn’t crush the house. But they didn’t crush it much.

We need a new roof, though. We needed a new one anyway.

It’s the afterward that is the hardest. I stepped outside, the neighborhood smelling of a taxi cab airfreshener, red and blue lights flashing, all the neighbors checking in.

You okay? Everybody okay? What was that? That wasn’t just high winds, right? 

Sleep comes difficultly on nights like that. Not for the kids. They fell asleep quickly. But for adults who play the what-if-game it’s near impossible to get the brain to calm down.

This has been a week of neighbors wielding chainsaws and machetes (I have a neighbor from Haiti). A week of TV vans parked along the street and police checkpoints. Men with clipboards, assessing the damage and giving it a monetary value. Men with business cards looking for a job or a family to rip off. Strangers drive down the street, filming the damage on their iPhones or pointing at the disaster like it’s a show. A show they can leave.

I’m tired of the disaster show.

One of my kids said, “Mom, remember when life was normal?”

That’s kind of how it feels.

Now, there are many blessings here. We’re okay.  I was in need of a good trip to get groceries, so we had little to toss. We were able to borrow a generator that kept us electrified. No one in our neighborhood had a serious injury due to the tornado. Our neighborhood has really come together.

My neighbor is letting me borrow his WiFi so I can write this post.

Disasters bring out the best in some and the worst in others. That’s just the way of it.

enormous duster
Courtesy the Oklahoma Historical Society

I’m writing a novel about the worst and longest running environmental disaster in our country’s history. You got it. I’m writing a Dust Bowl novel.

If you’ve known me since my Steinbeck obsession, you knew this would happen eventually.

One of the struggles while writing was that I didn’t know how the characters felt during the storms. I knew what they did. Just not how they felt. And I wasn’t sure how disaster felt as their “normal”.

Now I have a bit of a better handle on it. It’s a small handle, but it’s something.

I’m not arrogant enough to believe God would cause a tornado to touch down less than a quarter mile from my house so that I could better understand my characters.

But I will take what I’ve learned this week and hold it close. I’ll remember and use it.

Because this is what writers do when a tornado comes.

Thank you for your patience while we get our normal lives back in place. Part of that involves waiting for the internet folks to re-connect us. And thank you to those who have prayed for us. We are doing just fine! We have electricity and coffee-making capabilities and a new roof in our future. Oh. And a new swing set, too. 





11 Comments on “Tornado Week

  1. So glad noone was hurt and that you can at least glean some knowledge about your characters from all of this. Hang in there!


  2. So glad y’all are alright! I visited a friend about a block over from you guys this weekend. Crazy biz in your neck of the woods. I am praying that things continue to come back together quickly and smoothly.


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