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Tornado Teachers

I am feeling pretty lucky this Wednesday.  Pretty lucky indeed.

Last week at this time a massive system of storms tore across America, Kentucky and many other southern states in its path. A week later, the reports of death and damage continue to filter in. Over 300 dead, and over 300 still missing.

When I sit back and absorb these sobering details I realize how lucky we were here in Lexington. Unlike many others, we came out on the other side of that dreadful day a bit wet and storm weary, but in one piece.

My children were even luckier. They were with adults who took the storms seriously and prepared for the worst, all the while working to keep them calm and safe.

Hunkered down at home, folding laundry in front of the weather channel I had barely worried about our three daughters, each at their respective elementary, middle and high schools. Going on previous experience with tornado warnings that had amounted to nothing, I saw no reason to believe this warning would be any different. ”A blip in the day,” I thought, as I imagined our girls working away on projects, at the most making a brief trip to the designated tornado “shelter”.

Little did I know what was transpiring in schools across our area that morning.

 My children’s carpool conversations at the end of that stormy day set me straight. I heard real life tales of hour plus tornado warnings and teachers at the ready.

Tales of being squeezed thirty to a SMALL bathroom; some children perched on toilet tanks, for over an hour.

Tales of boys holing up in girl’s lavatories and girls in boys. (Whoa!)

Tales of crying and the sweet classmate who offered to hold the crier’s hand.

Tales of a guitar, a teacher and the one hundred plus three to nine-year-old children he sang to in very cramped quarters.

Tales of the teacher who bent the rules and allowed the middle-schoolers to bring IPods and phones into their restroom-cum-tornado-shelter (double Whoa!).

As I listened to my girls graphically relive each of their mornings my thoughts ebbed and flowed: “Hmm, the schools took that tornado warning seriously didn’t they?” And, “Thank goodness for dear Mr. Hickner and his guitar.” And yes even, “Better them than me!” as I thought of having to keep one hundred children composed as skies darkened and winds howled.

But my biggest realization, formed as reports of the storms’ destruction flowed in, was how lucky I was. Lucky that my children were in good hands. Loving and caring hands, which from the sounds of it were more prepared than I had been to protect my most precious possession.

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