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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 23, 2013/ 14 Sivan 5773

Tornadoes sound like eerie silence --- then evil

By John Kass

John Kass


JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Does a killer tornado really sound like a freight train?

"I don't remember what it sounded like, honestly. It was like a freight train, but I don't remember much about it," said Rhonda Crosswhite, the Oklahoma grade school teacher who covered students with her body when her town was hit by that deadly twister the other day.

"One of my little boys just kept saying, 'I love you, I love you, please don't die with me,'" she recalled.

Some two dozen — and possibly more — died in Oklahoma. And 33 died when tornadoes hit Oak Lawn, Ill., on April 21, 1967, when I was a boy.

People who survive a tornado say it sounds like a freight train. But calling it a freight train is just a way to explain the unfathomable power to those who haven't experienced it. It's not a freight train, not really. It's a way of being polite. You just call it that because it's easier than arguing.

If you survive a tornado, it's as if you speak two different languages, a pre-tornado language and the one that comes afterward. And so, the phrase "like a freight train" serves as a point of reference between altered states.

Years ago I heard it, when I was a boy in Oak Lawn.

It was just after 5 p.m. when somebody at the Little Red Schoolhouse nature center in the Cook County forest preserves to the west reported a funnel cloud touching down.

We didn't know about that then. We didn't know it would be measured as a devastating F-4 tornado.

A series of tornadoes would hit the southwest suburbs that day, what meteorologists call a "family," the worst one dropping out of the sky to the west of us in Palos Hills, then rushing through Oak Lawn and Hometown and Evergreen Park, then on through the South Side of Chicago.

Just then, a little after 5, it was still, a weird quiet outside. Then suddenly moms were running out into the tiny front yards, running from one edge of the grass to the other, the wind whipping their dresses as they called their children.

I can't tell you what we kids were doing. Were we at the swing set where philosophy was discussed, talking with other kids about "limbo," the place where the Catholic kids insisted that unbaptized souls go to await eternity?

Or were we playing guns with our best friends, the Knaff boys, chasing and shooting our cap pistols, falling to the ground, compelled by the rules to wait to a count of 25 before we could stand?

I can't tell you. What I can tell you is of the quiet around us, as if there was no oxygen in the air, only a vacuum. The sky was pea green, like split pea soup. Then it was black. Garbage can lids flew past the houses. More mothers ran in the yards, screaming for their kids to get inside.

Our mom had been on the north side of Oak Lawn at our uncle's house, on the side of town that would be devastated in minutes, while our side of town was spared.

She screeched the car up the driveway, hit the brakes, hit the horn and yelled for us to run into the house. Then she crammed a table into a basement closet. We called it the "Scout Closet" because she was a den mother and that's where she kept her Cub Scout supplies.

My younger brothers Peter and Nick huddled with me under that table. We had a radio, an old scratchy transistor, giving storm warnings. The four of us crouched in there, in the closet under the stairs, making signs of the cross in the dark.

What we could hear outside was something like a freight train, yes, but only if it had been a freight train made of demons, legions of them howling, each screaming wordlessly, "I will kill you. I will kill you."

That's what it sounded like to me.

But for those closer to 95th Street, hiding at Oak Lawn High School or the homes to the west, it certainly must have sounded worse. Especially for those trapped in the rush-hour traffic along Southwest Highway, watching other cars being flung into the air like blades of grass from a mower.

Some 16 people were killed in a block or two there, plucked out of traffic, before the killer tornado headed to the east and toward the city.

Perhaps I'm remembering it all wrong now, perhaps it wasn't as loud as I remember, perhaps there were no demons calling. But there was the feeling of nature as evil, nature with a mind, predatory, nature intent on hunting us down.

So each time there is a tornado story in the news, I'm helpless. Pete and Nick are stuck on tornado stories too. I don't even have to ask them. I know. And if you were there on the Southwest Side in 1967, when the sky turned from green to black, then you know too.

The next day it was cold outside. In days to come, we'd ride our bikes over to see homes destroyed, people in the streets, the Illinois National Guard deployed to stop the looters.

And since then, I've learned two things: I can't live in a house without a basement. And tornadoes don't sound like freight trains. We just say they do.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:



05/15/13 How the unassimilated are transformed into terrorists
05/07/13 Lives lost mean 'Benghazi' should be more than a political buzzword
04/30/13 American football industry is on its deathbed
04/25/13 Boston terror can't be packaged neatly for American audiences
04/18/13 In the world of acts, the urge to help overwhelms
03/11/13 Senate battle between a libertarian whippersnapper, crotchety establishment
02/25/13 If only Jesse Jr. would have read his own book
02/11/13 Secret drone strikes simplify Obama Doctrine
01/29/13 Making a pet project out of Neanderthals
01/17/13 Spielberg stops 'Robopocalypse,' perhaps on orders of evil master robot
01/07/13 Reality TV, how deep can it sink?
11/08/12 Thanks, voters, for caring enough to argue
11/05/12 It's Romney by a head
11/01/12 Sandy swoops in to save Obama. Should it be allowed to?
10/18/12 The other side of the emergency room curtain
10/15/12 Droopy Chia candidates get a do-over
10/04/12 :Schoolchildren's stomachs rumble; drama queens grumble
10/01/12 : Chia Obama vs. Chia Romney: May the best greenfro win
09/25/12 : With bitter campaign in full swing, you need to watch some movies
08/02/12 : Toasting culture's absurdities
04/24/12: Why do you have to sell your privacy to win?
10/13/11: Stupid things men say to pregnant women
09/26/11: Desk zero: ‘Contagion’ lurks just outside office bathroom
09/08/11: Light up your lottery tickets, pass the Hopium
08/31/11: It was only a paper moon , but a legendary hoax
05/27/11: For 2012, it's Obama vs. the smoothies
05/05/11: Is it time to de-friend Pakistan?
04/12/11: China stretches the bounds of decency with cow-human-breast milk
03/23/11: No you're not in control; get over it
02/28/11: Chicago wanted a strongman, and it got one
01/26/11: Oh, c'mon, c'mon, Rahm-bo a victim? That's a stretch
12/13/10: WikiLeaks and Assange pretend there are no consequences
12/09/10: Trendy toys don't stand up to playthings of yore
10/11/10: Obama and his pals need some scarce Hopium for the next election
09/14/10: Obama gets a little bossy with tacit endorsement of Emanuel
08/18/10: Dead Meat walking, but heat to be applied again
07/28/10: No verdict, but Blagojevich trial still has its winners, losers
07/26/10: Obama's fall guy in Shirley Sherrod case is Vilsack the Pooh
07/21/10: Loathing of Steinbrenner softens after his death
07/19/10: Summertime, and the race cards are easy
06/28/10: Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no
12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2012, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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