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Saturday, 31 May 2014

29 years ago today: Tornadoes

   I clearly remember the day a string of 13 tornadoes touched down in Central Ontario, Canada on May 31, 1985.  Some of the cities and towns affected were Barrie, Holland Marsh, Tottenham, Grand Valley and Orangeville through property damage, loss of life and injuries [1].
   My family has a strong recollection of that day due to an interruption of plans my parents had.  My parents' farm was about a twenty minute drive from Barrie, but it was not a common destination for shopping. However, on the afternoon of May 31 it was determined that they would take my uncle, who was visiting from the Netherlands, to that city to pick up a thing or two. Just minutes before they were going to leave, a red pick up truck edged with rust came up the driveway. One of my dad's friends from church was stopping in for a visit.  My parents are known for their hospitality and did not mention their plans to go away.  They just set those plans aside and had a conversation over a cup of coffee and cookies. There was nothing particularly memorable about what they discussed.
   By the time their visit was over, it was too late to drive to Barrie, plus the weather had turned foul. Thunder and lightning accompanied a downpour, and the power was knocked out.  Eventually, we became aware of the big tornado that hit Barrie at the approximate time and location where my parents would have been if their plans had gone ahead.
   Sometimes that annoying phone call when you are about to go out the door or the longer-than-usual wait at a stop light just might be meant to keep you safe from a danger you may never have considered.

[1]http://canadatornado.com/ontario/history/ will give some more details, under the year 1985, if you are interested.

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