Tag Archives: D/FW

Nine tornadoes … and no casualties? I’d call that a miracle!

North Texas experienced a miracle the other night.

I can think of no other way to describe what did not happen when tornadoes plunged to the ground during savage thunderstorms and tore through many square miles of heavily populated regions of greater Dallas.

Each morning I wake up to learn that authorities keep increasing the number of tornadoes that hit the ground Sunday night.

The count of twisters as I write this brief blog post is nine. The strongest of which was an EF-3 twister that hit northwest Dallas. The rest were EF-1s and EF-2s. They pummeled communities north and east of Big D.

The miracle? There are no reported human casualties! Holy smokes, man! How does that happen?

I saw some video in real time Sunday night as storm chasers followed tornadoes along U.S. 75 and the LBJ Freeway. One team of storm chasers found a man in a pickup stalled on the highway; he gave them a thumbs up to let them know he was OK.

Then there’s the story of the manager of the Home Depot store in Dallas who — 45 minute before a tornado hit the store — ordered the outlet closed. He managed to shoo customers out of the store and ordered his employees to go home — quickly! Then the storm hit and inflicted heavy damage to the Home Depot.

The manager is a hero and my hope is that his bosses reward him handsomely for his heroism.

Several schools in the Dallas Independent School District are closed for the foreseeable future; students and teachers will be displaced and parents will have to figure out how to get their children to class on time.

There has been significant damage throughout the Metroplex. Trees were knocked down, shards of metal were thrown into the air, windows were shattered.

And no human casualties? I know that other storms brought tragedy to Arkansas and other points east of the Metroplex. My heart aches for those who are suffering. It aches, too, for those who suffered serious property damage here as well.

Still, I am shaking my head and I am expressing thanks at the miracle that transpired during that night of extreme weather violence.

Happy Trails, Part 157: oh, the joy of anonymity

It takes me a while at times to recognize blessings when they present themselves, but I surely have found one related to our move from the Texas Panhandle to a small — but rapidly growing — community northeast of Dallas.

Forgive me if I sound a bit high-falutin’. It is not my intention, but please bear with me.

The blessing is in the anonymity I am enjoying in Princeton.

I spent many years in two Texas cities — Beaumont and then Amarillo — working in jobs that elevated my visibility. I wrote for newspapers that were essential to the communities they served. My face was in each publication fairly regularly; my name appeared on the pages’ editorial page mastheads daily. Those who read the papers — and they numbered in the tens of thousands in each region — got to know my name; many of them recognized my mug.

Even after I left daily journalism in August 2012 in Amarillo, I would hear from those who would ask, “Hey, aren’t you the guy from the newspaper?” Yes, I would say, although I might say that “the guy in the paper is my evil twin.”

Indeed, when my wife and I were preparing to sell our house in Amarillo, we moved into our fifth wheel, found an RV park on the east side of town. We checked in and the lady who worked the counter that day recognized my name and chortled, “Oh my! You’re famous!” It turned out she is related to a former neighbor of ours . . . but, I digress.

I no longer have those encounters in Princeton. I blend in. My wife and I are just two new folks strolling around our neighborhood with Toby the Puppy.

We go to the grocery store, we make our purchase, we leave. We’re just two folks doing whatever it is we want to do.

And so . . . I welcome this newfound status of being just another face in the crowd. Don’t misunderstand, I occasionally would get a rush over being recognized, especially when someone had a good word to say about the work I did at those earlier stops on our life’s journey. To be sure, not everyone I met in that fashion was complimentary, but that goes with the territory, too.

That was then. Those days are long gone. My life these days is so much better.