While living in Oklahoma c. 1980 for a M. Divinity, I took my United Methodist friends up on an invitation to supper on a weeknight: very casual, en famille. I had taken the car stereo out a day or two before, including the radio, so I was soundless. As I was leaving in late afternoon (Prime Time for these things), my elderly Landlady poked her head out of her side of the house and said, among other things "There's storms brewing this evening.", an entirely common exchange, especially in Spring or Autumn. "Storms" may ALWAYS include tornadoes in this context; " I didna hear yet of none sighted on the ground, but we all know it's possible." I nod and pull out, and within minutes am on a highway (4 lanes, but not Interstate).
There is a village halfway between my origin and my destination: a drive-in, a good sized Roman church, and a very few houses and streets: no traffic lights, but signs that say they'd really like you to slow down a little. As I slow from 60 to maybe 50 on the edge of town, I look once again at the cloud that has formed within the ten or fifteen minutes since I left the house. It forms a diagonal line at approximately 45 degrees from top to ground: sharp and distinct; it appears to have drawn by a ruler: black on one side, sunshine on the other. The first very big and forceful drops hit my windshield. Within a matter of seconds, I am in the village, doing ten miles an hour and reducing my speed further; it is raining so hard I cannot see the hood of my car, but catch glimpses of taillights in front of me. It is not so much a matter of going anywhere, but maintaining one's position as long as one is able; I think "If the windshield isn't destroyed (some of it is clearly big hail by now) I won't stop yet." Then, within a minute or two, the rain and hail are sharply reduced, and I can see a very wet road with limbs here and there, so I proceed carefully to Sam and Sharon's. I can't find Sharon and the kids at the Parsonage or the church next door, but a note saying "Sam, we're in the storm cellar." So where have the Methodists put this storm cellar?
As I continue my search, Sam and his golfing buddy pull up to park in front of the house. He tells me there were tornadoes on the ground, and still are to the SE, as we learn through the static when we join Sharon, the girls, and their next-door neighbor, whose cellar they use. Sam tells me, or we both learn, one of the tornadoes had touched down about 100 meters to our North, and was running parallel to the highway we were on, until it crossed about 1/2 kilometer behind us, removing the roof of the drive-in. Sam and his buddy got out of their car and lay in the ditch, getting soaked, while I drove, oblivious to the larger context.
I had cleaned up after a tornado touched down in a residential area just north of my undergraduate school: volunteers putting a community face on the anti-war (1970) movement. One had destroyed a small part of a small town where my first congregation after Seminary was located. My Oklahoma kinfolks always had a dugout for home canned goods and a quick trip if need be; now I am reminded of scurrying to the bunker outside the hooch when we heard the first "incoming" rounds go off--122mm Katushya rockets--in Vietnam, a once a week occurrence.
I have never before realized how much I take these experiences as "given": for granted; "everybody knows that." Keep living, keep learning.