Looking For Words

Over the years there have been a host of books written on how to find water in a dry well. Some suggest writing in a journal each morning before doing anything else. Others urge the reader to brainstorm, announcing the fact there is nothing worthy of cluttering a blank page. I’ve done both, as well as other rituals. Sometimes they all work. Sometimes none of them work. When none of these things work I take comfort in knowing I’m not a journalist who after great expense to an editor has arrived at edge of the world must either generate some meaningful words or justify why nothing has come his/her way.

I guess it’s because I’m still thinking about the tornadoes we played hide and seek with a few mornings ago. The experience sent me back many decades. Grandpa had just finished his chores and then took his place at the breakfast table.

“It’s pretty quiet this morning, too quiet. If I was a weather forecaster I’d be looking in the clouds for a tornado,” he said as he stirred his coffee.

This was Saturday. No one had asked my opinion, so I remained silent. Cousin Jim and I had plans to head down to the river and I didn’t want them getting derailed with fence mending, or some other job that would consume the day.

After breakfast I saddled my mare and headed for Jim’s house (I was fourteen and too young to drive). His mother had a last minute job for him, so I’m setting my horse waiting. A movement caught my attention. It looked kind of like a hornets nest, or a bunch of junk. It went right over my head at some altitude, and like a dumb ass I sat there a watched. Jim was just coming out the front door when his Uncle RJ rolled into the yard and jump out of his car.

“David!” he shouted.

“I’m in the shop,” Jim’s dad replied.

“You remember Dad’s old barn I asked you to help me tear down and burn?”


“Well, don’t worry about it. A tornado came over the house a few minutes ago. It touched down and hauled the whole thing off.”

“Oh?” replied David stepping from the shop wiping has hands on a grease rag.

“I’ve seen a few of those twisters, but this is the first one that ever did me any good.”

“You suppose that was your uncle’s barn I saw fly over the top of me?” I asked Jim.

“Hell if I know. Let’s head down to the river.”