So I get back to my desk yesterday, and the message light is flashing. I have one of those phones that show the number of the person calling, and its my parents phone back in Pittsburgh.
My parents calling me at work. Not a good sign.
So I listen to the message. My mom should be a newscaster - she builds with a story over time.
"Jeff," she says in a grave voice on the recording, "This is mom."
[Oh my goodness, I think, what's wrong?]
"I just calling you tell you . . ." and she pauses.
[Oh jeeze, what is it? Dad? Scott? Gayle? The Grandkids?]
"There's been a tornado in Cranberry."
[Crumbs! That's where my sister Gayle lives!]
"Everyone is fine. It missed the house."
[OK, my heart can start beating again, everything's fine. Deep breaths.]
Actually, it wasn't a tornado, but rather a microburst, a collection of tornadic winds concentrated in a very small area. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, its still nasty. People have only discovered them in the last twenty years or so, mostly because we've only started looking for them. It savaged a local mall, flipped some cars, downed some trees, and sent a number of people to the hospital. This was about a mile away from where my sister lives, who, over the phone (of course I had to call) reported that the winds weren't that bad where she was.
So I'm relieved. One of the downsides of being far from family is that if something happens, you're far from family. Of course, while talking to Gayle, she casually mentions that my brother Scott was on the road behind a tanker that jack-knifed. Actually a mile behind it, in the resultant traffic jam, but that's no fun. We seem to be surrounded by potential danger and mis-chance all of a sudden.
And of course, as I write this, there's this not-so-dormant volcano nearby. Hmmmmm.