The strong storms that spawned tornadoes in the Deep South then swept up the East Coast this week damaged homes and other buildings and caused widespread power outages.
They wreaked havoc, notably in Virginia, Florida and Louisiana.
They also brought winds that howled through our neighborhood, especially Wednesday night. But they weren’t strong enough to disturb me.
I slept through them.
I’m a professional.
That’s not to say the storms caught me completely off guard. I was at work Tuesday night when a tornado tore through the Florida Panhandle. And I was awake enough Wednesday afternoon to take notice of the wind and rain pelting our neighborhood. I even cautioned our son to wait for the weather to calm down before driving home from school.
But if one of our bleary eyed dog-walking neighbors had been out on the street in front of our house when I emerged before sunrise Thursday, it would not have occurred to me to ask something like “storm keep ya up last night?” I would have merely greeted them with the usual “Good morning.”
The wind was still blowing strong when I left our house earlier than normal Thursday. But I didn’t find the weather unusual. It’s supposed to be blustery in February.
Besides, I was preoccupied. It was my wife’s birthday. And one of the birthday traditions at our house involves, wait for it … fresh donuts!
I came home with an assortment that included the standard glazed and my favorite chocolate cake, but also a few topped with birthday appropriate pink icing and celebratory sprinkles. A couple were spiked with a brownie filling, others with Boston Cream Pie custard.
All were crowd pleasers.
However, they weren’t enough to totally distract me once I learned just how strong the storms had been.
I had a mouth full of glazed chocolate cake goodness when my wife said the storms woke her several times and that she had been worried their fury would topple neighborhood trees.
I had no such worries because up until then, I was oblivious.
Later that morning, I was back outside. The winds were still kicking up when I took our daughter and her BFF to school.
When I got back, I took a quick spin around our neighborhood. I didn’t really think I’d find any damage, but I was curious, especially since the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado just four hours drive time from the Eastern Panhandle, in the small town of Waverly, Virginia. Three people were killed there Wednesday afternoon.
Aside from the lingering wind, everything seemed normal around our house, if unnaturally gray.
As I write this, I’m alone with the remaining donuts left in their box on our kitchen counter.
I could ignore them or scarf them down and worry about fitting into my jeans this weekend.
I have a trivial decision to make.
And I am grateful for that.
Those who have lost their homes have much more important things on their mind than a stupid box of donuts.