Frequently my phone chimes with a love note from Accuweather, “HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 10PM.” Or “GALE WARNINGS UNTIL MIDNIGHT.” Immediately, I’m flushed with dread. It’s not like I’ve never seen big winds before. I grew up in Iowa and I’ve been through a tornado or two in my day. But Iowa has like a handful of trees in the whole state so when winds start to wail, dry corn stalks come flying at your head, not the tops of 50-foot pines like here in Massachusetts.
When my husband, the Turk, found our charming little house in the woods two years ago, he was so taken by the remoteness and the stunning view of cranberry bogs behind it, that it never occurred to him it could be a death-trap in high winds. I felt the same love he did, until we had our first windstorm. When winds began reaching speeds around 50 mph, and the trees surrounding my home started to bend over, I was sure we were about to die. It was so bad, I even wore one of the Turk’s work hard-hats for the dangerous journey from garage to house.
I survived the first windstorm but the second was worse. I even picked the kids up on my way home from work to avoid standing in the kill-zone waiting on the bus. As Number 1 caught sight of the backbending trees, he lost it. “We’re going to die Mom! A huge tree is going to crash into our house and we will die!”
“Relax. Maimed maybe but death is not likely.”
“Seriously Mom? Do you not see the branches falling in our yard like confetti of death? If a tree falls on our house, what do we do? Become homeless?”
That’s when Nugget chimed, “If a tree fallth, you juth call Flo at Progrethive or Jake from Thate Farm. Duh.” (Note to self- curtail that kid’s television time.)
Until last Friday, my husband always managed to be out of town for work during the worst of these windstorms. When I would send videos of swaying trees, he would blow me off with a, “Calm down. Is nothing.”
It’s easy to think this when you’re not running from pine boughs flying overhead while your terrified kids are hiding in the basement, asking about the structural integrity of the second floor. But last week, the Turk got to experience the full brunt of Mother Nature himself. As I arrived home from work that afternoon, the Turk emerged from his basement office. “What is happening? Sound like tornado outside.”
“Windstorm. This is what I’ve been telling you about and finally you’re here for one.”
“When it will stop?”
“According to Accuweather, 10:00.”
“Tonight?!? But trees can snap by then.”
He paced from window to window, watching the woods around us do a little tango.
“Maybe you should go down the driveway and wait for Nugget’s bus. You know, to protect your wife from danger.” If I get impaled by a falling branch, you cannot raise these boys on your own.”” I wasn’t totally joking.
“Very funny. Why you are so dramatic?”
“Dramatic? I think that a man from a male-dominated Muslim country would be elated to protect a woman from potential doom.”
“We live US now. We have equal rights.”
As he snuggled into his fuzzy slippers, I donned my cold weather gear and headed down the drive, watching branches and twigs rain down around me. In hindsight I should have used the argument that his life insurance was worth much more than mine. (If he gets killed on the job he’s got triple indemnity but accident death by tree is still a good payout.) But since this wasn’t my first windstorm, I was feeling cocky.
Five minutes into my wait I heard a very large crack overhead. It was the kind of crack that you know is about to release something massive. My head snapped up. Which one was it? Which tree held my demise? I spun left, then right. So many trees! Why so damn many trees? Then I heard the tell tale wood on wood smack of a very large branch losing to gravity. I covered my head and assumed the tornado position. (Iowa habits are hard to break.)
SMACK! A huge hunk of wood landed inches from my cowering body immediately followed by another huge WOOSH of as a massive branch landed on the other side.
Cautiously, I unfurled. hoping another branch wasn’t coming to finish the job. I took a look at my attempted assassins. The branch dwarfed me by feet and the hunk of wood weighed at least 10 pounds. I did as any wife would and immediately texted photos to the Turk as an I-told-you-so.
“LOOK AT THIS! I ALMOST JUST DIED! I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY.”
The Turk made a fatal error as he texted back, “Is just little twig.”
Twig? Bitch please. I dragged the violators off the drive fuming. Then, as I shielded Nugget from any more flying tree parts as he got off the bus, I hauled that big-ass piece of wood all the way up to the house and dropped it right on the Turk’s cushy slippers.
“Whoa. This is huge. What if it hit you?”
“Yes. What if this big ass piece of wood had fallen on my head. What then? Wouldn’t you feel like crap?”
He searched the air for an answer before finally declaring, “We will burn it in fireplace. For revenge.”
It wasn’t the heartfelt admittance of guilt I desired but for my Turk, there is no bigger show of love than an offer to seek revenge so I’ll take it but next time…his ass will be the one dodging flying trees.