Suzanne Lindgren

Well, last Sunday afternoon was the closest I’ve ever come to a tornado — and as close as I ever care to be.

At about 4 p.m. I’d been contemplating heading out. We needed cat food, and since I was going to town anyway I thought I might see what treasures awaited discovery at the thrift store.

From the other room, Matthew said some weather was headed our way. Over the next 10 minutes or so, my plans got whittled down to the two things we genuinely needed: cat food and gas. I made a quick trip to the Scandia Speedway for both and carried the cat food inside just before the rain started to pour. (My luck is not always so good, but yesterday I was lucky in more than one respect.)

Joining Matthew to watch the live emergency weather report, the seriousness of the situation set in. A tornado had been reported in Forest Lake, and another in Scandia not too far from us. 

Slowly, it dawned on me that the rain and wind had stopped outside our window in a way that seemed almost ominously cheerful. It had gotten sunnier, but the light was almost green. It occurred to me that we should probably stop watching the television to see if a tornado was coming, and actually go outside to assess the situation. 

Meanwhile, Strummer had fallen asleep in my arms. We’d tried to get him asleep earlier in the afternoon, of course. Now that it was about 4:30, he’d finally paused for a rest.

I carried him onto the porch thinking that if we needed to go down to the basement at least he was already in my arms. We looked and listened for a few minutes. No unusual noise.

We went back in and I put Strummer on his bed. I kept an ear out and, strangely, heard a train whistle. 

“The train is running?” I asked aloud.

“They say a tornado coming sounds like a train going by,” Matthew said. He was joking, because it was almost certainly the actual train whistle. Still, it gave me a chill.

We watched the weather a bit more and after it looked as if we were in the clear, our concerns turned to Osceola, Dresser and St. Croix Falls, which looked to be next in the path. Still, I think Scandia might’ve gotten the worst of it yesterday.

That night, my dreams put me back on the porch: I was holding Strummer and a tornado was heading straight for us. We didn’t have time to escape. I held him tight and braced myself. Then I woke up. 

I’m grateful it was just a dream. I know that for others in Scandia, it was not. Still, a day later no one is believed to be hurt. For that I am thankful.

I welcome your response to this editorial column:


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