If you follow me on twitter or facebook then you are probably aware of what went down this last Sunday. The Prince ( 9 yrs old) had entered 16 exhibits into the fair we would find out if he won, and collect his stuff on Sunday. I even turned it into a contest for my friends and followers to guess if and how much he won, complete with a 3 way tie for 1st place!
So Sunday is armband or pay one price day. He had won enough cash prizes for his own armband and then dug deep into his treasure chest to cover his friends entry. The boys rode about 5 rides and I noticed it was getting dark in the distance. I called the Droid and asked him to look at the weather. He informed me that there was a small disturbance in the gulf over a near by barrier island. But it hasn’t rained here and it looked like nothing major.
I bought the kids hot dogs and drinks and plunked my purse on the table. I told them they were going to take a break while I evaluated the weather a bit more. Explaining in bad weather you really don’t want to be 80 ft in the air in a metal bucket. Our table was well under the huge pavilion. I soon noticed the family on the outer table. It was a Dad with a baby under 1 on his lap, a baby around less than 2 on his right, a teenager with CP on his left, then at the other end of the table were 2 little girls around 3 & 5. He explained, 2 were his, 2 where his grandchildren and 2 were nieces. We passed polite conversation and I told him I thought it was amazing he could handle all those well mannered kids by himself and still smile.
Since I suck at describing it, here is a diagram. ( I know quit hating my mad graphics skills)
I saw maybe 2 or 3 strikes of lightening which appeared to be in the distance. I immediately told the man he needed to move his crew to our table in case any rain might blow in. He was getting up to pull the table closer to mine and helping his son with CP move closer. I looked at the Prince and his Friend C and told them to go help the girls 3 & 5 to move them to the inside of our table for safety and the boys could stand.
BAM. What happened next can only be described as the oddest weather event of my life. In the north I dealt with and was in a tornado. On the gulf I have survived many a hurricane. I stood on my front porch during Ivan, and George. This was so different, so isolated, so fast. I could not open my eyes, or even catch my breath, the deafening sound made it impossible to hear anything.
I felt something on my leg. It was the B in the diagram, I scooped her into my arms with her face away from the wind. I held her as tightly as I could not sure what was happening to us. At some point I wondered if I had the baby had the teenager gotten away? I stretched out my right hand and felt his head, I just pulled it to my chest, hoping he was not facing the barage of rain and winds.
My husband asked me later if it sounded like a train, I explained there was no sound, or maybe it was the sum of all sounds. I could not hear the baby over my shoulder screaming near my ear. It actually ran through my mind that we could die. I had no clue what was going on.
Then an Angel pulled on the back of my shirt, she screamed you have to move, lets get you out of here, I screamed back to the stranger to just take the baby. I handed her off over my shoulders to this woman. I then grabbed the teenager ( letter H) under the arms and helped him further towards the crowded hallway. It was after we were there I opened my eyes. I saw around 100 people crammed in the maybe 3 foot wide hallways. We found the dad and he took the baby and his teenage son.
I found a cop and told him to go and help the man, there is no way 1 person can move/ save/ help that many kids in this kind of event.
I made sure the Prince and his friend were ok. I dried my face on my shirt but it was a worthless attempt since water was pouring off every inch of my body.
I told the boys when there was a break we were going to run to the car. No touching the metal barricades, no touching the wire fence, stay low and go. Once we were secure in the car and it had lightened up a bit I found out what happened to the kids.
Just as they had grabbed 3 & 5 to help them to our table. The proverbial Poop hit the fan. The dad was standing up trying to move the table and they aren’t really sure what happened because my son, The Prince, at 9 years old, was on his toes.
Apparently he saw the front of the system coming as he neared the edge of the pavilion to help 3 & 5 move. He grabbed them and flung them on inside of the table. He then grabbed that 8 ft banquet table and flipped it on it’s side to give them protection. His friends chair had blown over with him in it. He drug him into the shelter of the table he flipped, since I was on the end I couldn’t see or hear any of this. My 9 year old then drug the table behind the group until they were close enough to run. Once he found an adult he asked them to watch the kids and then screamed at all the adults to help him come get me.
I had no clue what all he had done, I couldn’t see and definitely couldn’t hear it even though it took places just inches from my body.
The decision to flip a table full of food and drinks and my purse was pure instinct. The ability to use the table as a shield and sav 3 other kids blew me away. Then to know he came back to save me is mind boggling. I am the parent and it happened so fast I didn’t have time to react. Saving my kid and his friend should have been the first priority. I was shocked it wasn’t, but I really thought it would just be a blow in of a little rain and we would be fine. It wasn’t. I realized how well my son not only could he handle himself but help others.
He is my youngest, only 9. His sister is 21 and his brother turned 19 last week. He is guarded a bit because he is the baby and he was born a preemie. Boy how that young man is handling himself leaves me speechless and proud.
PS – there was nothing on the local news that I saw, after telling the story about 30 times, 25 of the people have guessed that we were probably part of a possible straight wind.