Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains, and the waving wheat can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain. Oklahoma, every night my honey lamb and I, sit alone and talk, and watch the hawk making lazy circles in the sky. We know we belong to the land, and the land we belong to is grand. And when we say: yo, a yipei, yo ei ya! We’re only saying you’re doing fine Oklahoma, Oklahoma, O.K.L.A.H.O.M.A. Oklahoma. OK.
I can’t stand being so far away from my home. I wish I could hold my friends close to me right now. I wish I could hug my dad and dog. I wish I could be there for my state. I’ve been crying all day, completely distraught that I can’t help. It gives me strength though to know that so many of my fellow Oklahomans are doing everything in their power to help. From donations, volunteering, and keeping me updated.
14 years ago, I remember seeing the clouds forming. I remember the sky growing darker and darker. I remember my family sitting outside on the back porch watching the news on a tiny 7” portable radio TV. I remember hearing Mike Morgan’s pleading words for everyone to seek shelter. I remember my parents had gone shopping at Sams Club earlier in the day and the fridge was completely stocked. I remember huddling in the closet with the dog, hiding under the clothes, scared out of my mind. I remember my mom giving me an M&M ice cream sandwich to make me feel better – power had gone out and we needed to eat through the fridge quickly. I remember a growing roar, a train barreling its way towards our house. I remember the dead silence that followed. The next day, we drove through our neighborhood and it was gone. Sheet metal was wrapped around poles like paper. Trees everywhere. Slabs of concrete where houses should have been. We were lucky.
I remember camping with my Aunt, Uncle, and Oma in upstate New York. I remember the tornadoes that ripped through there. I remember the tent lifting off the ground and racing for the camper. I remember holding on to the door as the winds whipped around me. I remember the fear. The fear of letting go and disappearing into a swirling vortex.
I remember too many tornadoes. I remember too many tragedies. I remember too many close calls. But there is something you can never forget, the outpouring of support and love from your neighbors, strangers, and friends.
After the May 3rd tornado, my mom decided to help a lady out that she barely knew. She used to work at Hallmark and had collected Hallmark’s Christmas ornaments for over a decade. She lost everything. Absolutely everything. For Christmas that year, my mom gave her a new tree and new ornaments to restart her collection. It makes me so proud to know that my mom was that Oklahoman. The person who doesn’t care who you are, just knows that you need help, and she’s there. It may not be a new house, but it is part of a home.
Oklahoma, plenty of heart and plenty of hope.