Alternate titles . . . The night I spent hunkered down in Izzy's kitchen or Kansas, just because we are similar in name doesn't mean we should be similar in weather.
I don't want to be too trite, because there is much destruction and devastation in Arkansas today. Lives were lost and homes leveled; schools were torn apart and sweet families huddled together in bathrooms and closets and laundry rooms praying and fearful.
The tornadoes were bad last night. I have not yet heard a final number of how many there were or the rating they all received, but I do know that as I was huddled under a prep table in the restaurant's kitchen, the weather guy I was listening to on my God-send of an IPhone said, "Just to let you guys know how serious this is, the people at the National Weather Service are leaving their commands to go to a safe place. This is bad, folks."
We were already convinced.
Let me back up and tell you the whole story.
Several moms and I are planning a mother/son event for the kids' school. It's scheduled for this Friday night and we felt we needed one more meeting to get our little duckies in a row. We have been meeting at Izzy's because the food is good, they are accommodating, and it smells better than the dining room (aka, cafeteria) at the school!
So, last night, a brave (crazy? in denial?) 5 of us met to go over the details. We were seated by a row of large windows and even though we knew it was supposed to be bad, a couple of us were convinced that it might scoot just north of us. Nevertheless, we got right to business so we could get home as quickly as possible. We met at 6:30 and by 7:00 we knew that we weren't getting out of the severe weather. In fact, from what we were seeing out of the large windows, we were smack dab in the middle of it.
Now, being mommies, we were all used to remaining calm for the little people and having a tornado plan in mind for our homes. But it didn't take long for us to realize we had no plan and no little people to be calm for and the nervous giggles and chatter of unsettled women set in. All of us wanted to rush home for two reasons . . . (1) our sweet babies were alone with our poor husbands and we wanted to sit on our nests and keep everyone safe and (2) we were feeling a little unsafe as we looked around and realized there really wasn't an interior wall to speak of, the trees outside were doing toe touches and the hail was loud and plentiful.
We paid for our (untouched) food and asked the manager what he had heard and where we should go. He suggested we go in the kitchen and hang out near the pizza oven because it was actually secured to the foundation. At some point during all of this, Jamie Garner laughed to me, "I guess you'll have something to blog about tomorrow!"
As we were walking into the kitchen a very loud whooshing roar could be heard. I'm not gonna exaggerate and say I'm sure it sounded like a freight train, but it didn't sound like regular wind either.
Needless to say our pace picked up a little.
The next 45 minutes or so consisted of us taking cover, heading to the exit to see if we could all dash home, and then returning to the shelter of Izzy's VERY clean kitchen with their VERY sweet staff. The teenage servers would open the side door and report back to us chickens what was going on. At one point they even looked a little spooked at the FUNNEL CLOUD they could see.
Here we are under the table and here is a picture of one of the waitresses holding up a piece of hail:
Finally, around 7:50, the rain and hail and wind slowed down a bit and the weather experts and radars seemed to think we were either in the clear, or at least had a break in the weather to make it home. I held my breath as I rounded the corner to our house, waiting to see if one of the hundreds of trees surrounding us was on the house. Everything was fine, though. I am so thankful that we were protected at Izzy's and that Josh and the kids and the puppy were ok. It was hard to not be with them during that and I was beyond relieved to find everything was good and they were on their way to bed.
Jamie and I are supposed to get together again tonight to decorate posters . . . I'm thinking I will get the supplies and do them at home . . . from our tornado safety place . . . since we are expecting ANOTHER night of bad weather. This morning Jim Cantore, the guy from the weather channel who goes to the worst storm/weather places and reports in the middle of it all, changed his plans to be in Memphis and Birmingham and came to Little Rock instead. He joined a guy from the weather channel who is already here. And the TLC show Storm Chasers? Yeah, they came yesterday and are planning to stay the day. Sweet. These are celebrities I would rather NOT meet.
Stay safe, friends. Download the B98.5 app to your smart phone so you can hear the weather no matter where you are! It was a great source of information and comfort to us last night. And eat at Izzy's . . . not only is the food good and healthy, but the kitchen is clean and they take good care of you!
10 hours ago