Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Not-So-Amazing Race

Yesterday, I told you about our teacher inservice day. There is one
little part I left out: we were released EARLY. Oh yeah...the reason
for that was a TORNADO WARNING.

Mabel, her cohort, and I had been chatting with an administrator
about the weather. The sky was getting dark, but the forecast called
for afternoon thunderstorms, so that wasn't any great surprise.

As part of the afternoon speaker's agenda, we had to write down a
vocab word from our subject area, define it in our own words, write
a synonym, use it in a sentence, and draw a picture of it. Then we
had to discuss it with 2 partners from other tables. Mabel chose
'triangle' for her word. A 3-sided polygon. The picture and sentence
weren't so hard. The synonym was a bit harder. I didn't care. It
wasn't my word. I chose 'truck', as used in Tom Sawyer, the novel
my 9th grade language class has been reading. Aunt Polly asked
Tom, who was hiding in the pantry eating jam, "What's that truck
all over your face?" It means rubbish, a mess, garbage, stuff. The
drawing went with my sentence, "We must clean the truck out of
the attic this weekend." I drew a trunk, a birdcage, some barbells,
and an old dressmaker's dummy thingy. I might just frame it.

My first partner didn't have a word. Actually, she had one, but I
forget, because it was not very interesting and she did not have the
drawing and stuff on her paper. She said her table did it as a group.
I'm ashamed of you, Mrs. C, for not only not doing your assigment,
but also for breaking the rules. This was not group work! You
could have at least chosen the word 'tissues', and drawn those
150 boxes you've got stacked on your classroom shelves. Don't
go thinkin' I don't like Mrs. C. I like her. I really like her. But she
didn't have her word.

Mr. S had his word. Monotheism. He's quite the wordsmith, that
Mr. S. I knew it meant the belief in one god. I've helped his students
for the last 8 years. I ain't no slow learner! He was still working on
his drawing, which was a collage of different religious symbols, such
as a cross, a Star of David, and some thingies I can't think of names
for. Just as we were getting into our discussion, one administrator
called another out into the hall. I knew something was up.

Next cat out of the bag (There were no real cats, and no real
But we might have had more fun if that were the activity:
letting cats
out of bags. And another group could have had the
task of putting
cats into bags. Then, when we were through,
everyone could go
home with a brand new cat. And a bag to
let it in and out of.)
we were being told that we must cut the
inservice short (by 15 minutes) because a tornado was headed
our way.

What did we do? We all rushed out of there like rats off a sinking
ship. Or cats out of bags. I had a 30-minute drive home, and some
had a bit longer drive. Some were headed right toward the tornado.
I was headed away. The sky was black, but without much wind.
The rain had just started to sprinkle down. The tornado sirens were
going off in a neighboring town. I tried to call home and tell the boys
and their grandma to stay in the basement. Nope. #1 son was on the
internet. My Hillbilly Mama didn't answer her cell.

I passed the high school in the district where I live. There were no
cars lined up. No buses. But there were still some cars left in the
parking lot. I figure they let out the pick-ups and the kids who drove
who wanted to leave, and kept the others. That's what we did with
a snowstorm last year.

The traffic was backed up at the light where I cross the highway.
I waited. For about 10 minutes I waited. Time was ticking. My
family still was not answering the phone. The line moved slowly
as the light changed. Twice. Then the little white pick-up truck in
front of me started to roll backwards. It came closer. And closer.
And CLOSER! I hit the horn when it was about a foot from my
front bumper. That startled the driver, who gassed it and moved
back to the half-car-length I'd left between us. Darn kid, not paying
attention, or not knowing how to drive a stick. That's all I needed
with that tornado coming...a little white truck stuck under my large
SUV. It might have slowed me down.

By now, the rain was pelting down. I got behind a flatbed truck
with bags of concrete or something on the bed. It went 30 mph.
The speed limit was 40!!! What's wrong with these people! It
turned into the elementary school road. I kept going. At 40 mph.

The sky was blacker. The rain was heavier. I didn't notice the
wind, but there were clumps of leaves in the road. I know the
squirrels hadn't been as busy as beavers all day, cutting those
leaves. I was ready to turn onto my blacktop county road, and
a dump truck pulling a trailer loaded with a backhoe turned in
front of me. Hey! Those things don't go very fast! I had to follow
it about 2 miles. Then it was open road, baby, until I got to my
gravel turn-off. The potholes slowed me down a little, but I got
home just as the rain started to pour down in buckets. I found
Grizzly in the garage. He ran out when I did, but I showed him
no mercy, and no shelter from the storm.

My Hillbilly Mama said she had let him in when she moved her
car out, since it was about time for me to come home. She had
no idea there was a tornado warning, because the kids always
have the TV on one of the cartoon channels.

The storm blew over in about 15 minutes. We could hear the
wind, but I didn't see chairs blown off the porch this time. On
the news that night, I saw that a tornado had hit St. James. That's
not far from Steelville and Cuba, where I used to work. The news
showed roofs blown off, and the school gym dented, with water
on the gym floor. The kids said they had just practiced a tornado
drill. It wouldn't surprise me if we have one next week.

Mabel, I hope your not-imaginary house is still standing.


Cazzie!!! said...

Wow, I feel like a storm watcher or something here!!! Them people on the road are such wankers aren't they? Just wjen you want to get somewhere fast, you cannot!!!

JustLinda said...

It went south of me -- I'm just minutes from the Jeff County border but on the St. Louis County side.

We thought about staying hunkered down until is passed, just in case it headed our way, but ultimately we wanted corn bread more than safety so we went to Cracker Barrel. You have to be that classy to hang with us....

Glad you're safe.

As for the teacher development exercises, wow. That sounds DEEP. I mean, how much value do those sorts of exercises deliver? You've probably been SLEEPLESS deep in philosophical thought ever since. And the children? Well, yes - the children will SURELY benefit from such a crucial exercise.

If only WE ran the world, HBM... if only. Think of how much more NO BULLSHIT it would be, huh??

Hillbilly Mom said...

Yes. I will shout "WANKER!" the next time I encounter such a road rat. Then they will really think I'm crazy, because that's not a word that's used around here.

We're practically neighbors, gal. I'm on the other side of that county. Perhaps it's good that it separates, to prevent us taking over the world.

I'm sure you know all about staff development. You would have loved our guest singer. The vocab thingy...I already knew about that, as last year's language teacher used such a contraption, and his students had to fill out 25 of them each week. I loved looking at the pictures they drew for the words. One kid used a recliner every single week. No matter what the word was, he could related it to a big La-Z-Boy.

Redneck Diva said...

The night before your tornado-chasin' we had one heading at us, too. It was one county over, heading right at us....then poof it was gone. I've said it time and time again - there is some paid county official out there who goes around the county borders spraying Bubba's Tornader Repellant. So far it seems to be working.

Chickadee said...

Little behind here on the blog reading. I was wondering how hard you were hit. As usual, the umbrella was up over my neck of the woods and we got a scattering of sprinkles.

One of my co-workers has forecasted that the winds will shift this winter and we will get all the snow while you guys down south will be spared the grief.

Glad to hear you're okay.

Hillbilly Mom said...

But the difference is that YOU WANT A TORNADO! That repellant guy can bring his can over to my neck of the woods any time.

It's your turn for the heavy stuff. I just want a day or two scattered in Jan. and Feb. for snow days. Those forecasters sorely disappointed me last year.