Last Wednesday night my dad and I sat on the steps of our front porch watching a storm roll in, as Missourians do.
While the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, I found out just how much my dad has learned about storms. My dad is something like a storm expert. He installed a storm tracker in our laundry room that beeps like all hell got loose when a storm is near, much to our chocolate lab’s dismay. My dad has the radar app on his phone and is always quick to shoot us a text if things look to be getting a bit hairy in the atmosphere.
It may seem strange to learn that my dad is, in fact, not a weatherman. He’s a dentist. But almost 5 years ago his whole world turned upside down and inside out as a tornado ravaged our hometown — including our house and his dental practice. As the breadwinner and glue that holds our family together, the stress was overwhelming. Not only did he have to worry about losing the roof over our heads, we also lost our cars, furniture, literally you name it and it was gone — either drenched in the “tornado stench” or missing without a trace. Except for our desktop Mac. Somehow that survived unscathed.
As I sat with my dad on our front porch, I realized I’d never asked him what he went through that day in May. He told me he can still see the funnel coming up our street when he closes his eyes. He was the last one down the stairs carrying our elderly German Shorthaired Pointer, Belle, as every window in our house began to break from the weight of the storm.
Once the lightening let up enough leave the basement, my dad didn’t miss a beat. He found the other men in the neighborhood and set out on a neighborhood watch-style triage to find anyone injured or trapped under debris. He helped a woman who had recently moved to Missouri — who happened to be pregnant — out of the wreckage of her house. My dad said he remembered the photographer photographing my neighbors helping the woman down the street to the safe house that had been created in my next door neighbor’s neighborhood. He didn’t want to be in the frame.
My dad is one of the most positive people I know. I can’t remember a single day that my dad has shown a bad mood. He chooses to look at the bright side of things and allows everyone around him to feed off of that effervescence. I will never be able to put my love for my dad into words.
He is a dentist, a father, a brother, a son, a friend, a hero and a part-time weatherman. I wouldn’t change a thing.