Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tornadoes and Dairy Queen

The weather service says we're in for some dicey weather here in Illinois, including a chance of a tornado. Tornadoes always reminds me of Dairy Queen.

Before you think I've flipped, I'll explain. Many years ago, when I was on vacation in Wisconsin with my good friends Jeanne and Debbie, we decided to go to Dairy Queen. While we were waiting in line, the sirens went off. In that area, sirens are not unusual since the fire department was and still is manned by volunteers.

So, we didn't think anything of it. We waited to get our ice cream and got into the car. After a few minutes we noticed the sky was this weird greenish black color, it was raining ferociously and the wind had turned gale force. That's when it hit us. The sirens were not about a fire, but about a tornado.

By the time we realized what was happening, pebbles and other debris had already started flying at the windows and sides of the car. We had to get to safety, so we headed to the Lakeland Motel, not far away.

As I rushed from the car to the motel, I locked the door with one hand and held onto my uneaten Dairy Queen sundae with the other. We made it inside and down the stairs to the basement, where we were reunited with our husbands who had gone fishing on the bridge next to the motel.

Everyone was surprised I'd managed to lock the door and carry my sundae without blemish through the storm and down the stairs. In case you're wondering, the tornado passed us without harm.

So now you know why tornadoes remind me of Dairy Queen.

Do you have any such adventure stories? Or, maybe you just like Dairy Queen. Please share.


  1. Tornadoes don't usually hit the area where I live. Occasionally a storm will come up with heavy winds but I can only remember one time when a tornado actually did blow through the vicinity. It was the night of my older daughter's high school graduation and boy, I can still remember, all too well, the heavy winds and the force with which the rain pummeled us as we tried to make our way from the high school building to our cars in the parking lot! Almost blew me over and that would be no mean feat either as I am not exactly a "slim jim" ya know! Thankfully, we were only on the edge of its path and not right in the midst of it.

  2. The last two times I flew commuter from Chicago to Champaign-Urbana, I encountered tornado weather. The last time, the sirens went off just after our plane landed. I grew up in that part of the country, but it seems the tornado season is much longer than it used to be.


  3. Welcome back!

    Tornadoes and Dairy Queen remind me of where my husband grew up, in Plainview, Texas. It's in the Panhandle, not far from Lubbock. When my mother-in-law still lived there and I'd go visit, I was always worried about tornadoes (we didn't have them in NYC, where I grew up). And the first time I visited, my hubby and I stopped in Earth, Texas, at a Dairy Queen, and instead of cars parked on either side of us, there were horses. Again, not a common site in New York.


  4. Anonymous8:13 PM

    When I was a kid, my best friend lived on a farm. One weekend when I was staying at his place, a tornado warning come over the radio. We all ducked into the basement. I watched in awe through a small basement window as the mighty wind blew through, blowing shingles off the barn and sending rocks and debris high into the air. Fortunately it did not touch down on my friends' farm, and we all survived. But it was a powerful experience.

  5. Having never experienced tornadoes the stories about them and how people were able to escape injury is fantastic! My sister lives in Texas and tells me of the sirens that go off and I just can't understand why she doesn't move back home to California! LOL.

    Cynthia Hernandez

  6. I have always been a storm phobic. I hate them. I think that is what led me to make my character of Shannon Wallace have the same fear. It makes for some funny moments in my book.

  7. Why Amaretto reminds me of hurricanes.

    We were preparing for Hurricane Charley, 2004, in Fort Myers, FL. Although earlier indications were that the storm would make landfall well north of us, a "course change" brought the cat 4 right in on top of us. We couldn't evacuate because we weren't about to leave our little dog, Molly.

    So, we hunkered down in the closet (no basements in Florida!). My husband suggested I have a small glass of Amaretto to calm down. Three hours later, as Charley was hitting, almost two-thirds of the bottle was gone! And, I'm not a drinker!!

    To this day, we'll never figure out how I consumed that much and stayed awake and alert! Guess it all comes down to adrenaline.


  8. You know, it's time for a break. I think I'll just head on over to DQ.

    Charlotte Phillips

  9. PS - Morgan, Welcome back. Hope you had a great time.


Your Comment Is Welcome