This week, one of those topics was floating around among the different bloggers.
So I decided-
But hey, actually, not knowing the bloggers personally,
I decided a group of bloggers must have been studying up
on the westward movement in US history.
From Ca- for California,
To La for Louisiana,
Mi for Michigan,
and Ty for Tennessee-Kentucky-
there’s a whole lot of calamity within those boundaries.
Take California, for example.
Earthquakes, Fires, Floods, Mudslides, huge snow storms, winter freeze, and tsunamis.
Hurricanes, of course.
Of epic proportions.
And the battle of New Orleans.
Then there are the mudslides, rockslides, landslides, hurricanes, and tornados
And some of the worst civil war battles.
And Michigan, if you ever find your way out of the ice and snowfalls,
with the help of the fifty pounds of kitty litter you have to carry in the car
to sand the roads because you were late buying sand, and only cat litter was left,
(beautiful place in summer, though)
you will find floods, fires, tornados, and great lakes storms.
And snow, snow, snow.
But at least they have cat litter.
So what are we really writing about,
when we write about calamities?
If you look up calamity, you, somewhere slightly down the page,
get thefascinating entry on Calamity Jane,
and, of course, also about personal calamities.
Like the above-mentioned California earthquakes.
And bad rock concerts…
In my own life,
I have been in a series of tornados-
including the one that ripped the roof off our school
while we all sat cross-legged in doorways,
head down and arms crossed over top
and listened to the “roaring freight train-absolute stillness-bird cheeping-kids sobbing-
absolute stillness-freight train approaches again-and finally leaves.”
If you have ever experienced it, you never forget it.
Or the fact that the sky simply turns green,
and then the world changes.
Like getting a phone call
while standing under a door frame
during a tornado,
and, in the stillness, hearing the words
my great-grandmother was dead.
That has a small tendency to take the polish off the silver.
Then, of course,
we moved to California.
Just in time for:
getting shaken out of bed and dumped on the floor by an earthquake,
and trying to tell my German husband he had better stop eating cornflakes
and get under the door frame when the after-shock hit.
My father, bless his heart, was a little late to the family door-frame gathering.
The toilet paper had rolled away in the shake.
Then there was my first car wreck-
on highway one-
on the inside lane, thank heavens.
And we all walked out.
The south-bound trucker was to blame.
I missed the ’89 quake,
while teaching in the Wiesbaden area
But even Gutenberg land occasionally has earthquakes,
and we managed to be on the sixteenth floor
of an appartment building
when one hit.
Thank heavens our appartment was built on twisters.
But the clothes swung in the closets.
Then there was the bear that sat on our pup-tent
in a national park in California,
the day I got washed overboard
off a catamaran in Hawaii,
hit in the head by flying fish in St Louis,
got lost on a paddle wheeler packet boat-
hey, I was seven,
swung across ravines on grapevines
and only fell off once…
other people’s catastrophes that got me involved,
that are definitely not something I would ever freely take part in…
So what ‘s the point?
that looking back,
Some awfully darned strange, weird, dangerous, evil, bizarre things.
thank you, God, that I am still around.
And that I have things to remember
that keep me going when the next flying fish hits me in the face.
Or the call of the wild is wilder than I expected.
Hey, did I tell you about the time there was this copperhead snake
hidden in the grass in front of our home…?
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