We didn't end up leaving home for our camping trip until mid afternoon last Wednesday. Packing took way too much time thanks to last-minute items we'd somehow left off our master list. Forgotten items included essentials like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, sleeping bags, dog food, etc.
Since our oldest, L, works at the Renaissance Faire during the weekend, we drove two cars up to the campground so she could leave Friday evening to meet up with a girlfriend. I rode with L, chatting with her about college (which begins on the 23rd), her pirate boyfriend, and her adventures as a Maid of Honor at the Faire.
The excitement began along the I-88 somewhere west of Dekalb after we drove into a line of thunderstorms. The wipers had trouble keeping up with the rain, but other than that it was no big deal--until L spotted a dark, low-hanging cloud drifting off to our right.
"Check that out," L said, her voice low and almost reverent.
The cloud lowered, forming an anvil shape. "Is that a tornado?" L asked.
The music from Twister began playing in my head. A few mile markers later, the anvil dropped out of the sky, lengthening like a bit of rope.
"My gosh," L said. "I think it is a tornado."
"Maybe we should get off this road," I said, paraphrasing a line from Twister. Unfortunately we were surrounded by cornfields and miles from the next exit.
By the time I decided maybe we should pull over and dive for cover, the rope lost form, the remaining tendrils floating off in different directions.
"Cool," L said with a smile in her voice, "I've always wanted to see one of those up close."
By now the sun was breaking through, and I realized I'd been holding my breath. I loosened my grip on the steering wheel, took a deep breath, let it out, and smiled.
One thing was certain. If I had any doubt my image banks would lack for filling up, they left me then and there. Here's to camping weekends and storm-chasing maids of honor to show a writer-mom a good time.
Current read: Gothic, Ten Original Dark Tales edited by Deborah Noyes