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:~: Friday, March 02, 2007 :~:

What Really Matters Most

I spent yesterday playing with ideas, trying to figure out what I'd do for my post today. I thought about Elisa's post on rejections, on Joan's post on voice, toyed with the idea of context or expectations versus reality.

I was still thinking about it when I went to bed around eleven, figuring I'd write while I had my coffee before heading to school.

At eleven fifteen, I switched off the weather radio, because the batteries were dying and the resulting beeping was making me nuts.

At eleven forty-four, the phone rang. I stumbled sleepily to the office, ready to fuss at whatever student was calling me for help on their assignment that late at night.

It was my mom, wanting to know if I had the local news on. I didn't, but I grabbed the weather radio and turned it back on while the DH fiddled with the television.

The alarm was already running -- a tornado on the ground in neighboring Baker County, estimated arrival in my town at 11:50.

Six minutes.

We live in a doublewide mobile home in the middle of a pecan grove. Staying wasn't an option.

While I was pulling on clothes and getting the boys dressed, images flashed in my head of the devastation from the last two tornadoes to come through our rural county in the middle of the night. Homes destroyed. Lives lost. People devastated.

We ran for safety, my mother's home a few miles outside of town (I didn't realize until we returned that we didn't bother to close the front door). Watching the lightning flash, listening to the weather alerts, peering into the rain for a funnel cloud highlighted against the clouds, clinging to my terrified nine-year-old's hand, I don't think I've ever been that frightened in my life.

Want to know what I grabbed as we left? Not my laptop with my manuscripts loaded on it, not my rejection file, not even photos or jewelry or extra clothing.

I grabbed what truly matters most.

One is twelve, almost as tall as I am.

One is nine, gangly and brilliant.

{I did grab my purse (I needed my car keys and all the insurance info I keep in there).}

The other what-matters-most was home by chance, due to an injury, and he drove us through the storm, intent on keeping his family safe. I told him later this was the kind of night that really shows you that the all the crap just doesn't matter.

Earlier this morning, I stood in front of our school, my knees weak with relief that none of our families suffered injuries or fatalities (other communities around us weren't so blessed).

I know we're normally all-writing, all-the-time here at Romance Worth Killing For, but I can't get my mind wrapped around a writing topic this morning. I promise next week I'll be back in the writing game.

I do have a copy of my debut release What Mattered Most to give away today, as I'd planned to do earlier in the week. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what is your "matters-most."

I'm going to spend some time with mine. I'll see you later.

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Blogger Cathy said...

Linda, so glad you and your family are okay. I would like to think that it is being a mother that instinctively has us grabbing our children in an emergency. There is always a pile of stuff that I should grab, and maybe if I had time, I would throw the scrapbooks in the car, but otherwise what really matters most are my darling boys.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Maria, Lover of All Things Romance said...

What matters most to me? I'd grab my dog and maybe a photo album. I'm glad that you are all right Linda, that must have been an awful experience

11:12 AM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Thanks, Cathy -- I'm glad, too. And I'm with you -- the boys are the most important thing to grab!

Maria, I'm so with you on grabbing the dog! That's what my sister would definitely take with her!

5:25 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...


What an utterly terrifying situation. I'm so glad Rick was home and that everything in your neck of the woods came out okay.

And, its true, when you get right down to it, what matters most is those you love.

Maybe that's why we write romance. :-)

8:11 PM  
Blogger KimW said...

That must have been so scary. I'm glad to hear everyone is okay. What matters most to me is my husband. My life wouldn't be near as complete without him.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

oh god! i am so thankful never to have experienced such a frightening event (i'm in the UK, we don't tend to get tornadoes - i have to say tend, as upcountry has had a couple over the last few years, probably thanks to climate change. guess that means someday i will be experiencing tornadoes and hurricanes etc *grimace*).

2:07 AM  
Blogger Kate R said...

Holy Moly.
Glad you guys are safe.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Edie said...

OMG, Linda! I'm so glad you and your family were safe.

My son lives in his own home, so the most important thing would my husband, my dog and cat (if I can find her). But if I have a few extra seconds, I'll probably grab my flash guide. *g*

8:15 AM  
Blogger JUDY said...

Linda, I am glad you and your family is good. Family means everything to me and should to everyone!! I kind of know how you feel, I live east of Baton Rouge, La. we did not have much damage from Katrina, but my husband and my family live on the Gulf Coast and they all lost EVERYTHING but their lives and the stories are horrifying. I have always been scared of weather!!

1:13 PM  
Blogger joye said...

I would grab my bottle of water, m;y book I am reading, my purse, and call my dog Willie to follow me. And of course, I woud hope my husband would follow.

9:51 AM  
Blogger robynl said...

Wow, what an experience. I think I might be too flustered to grab material things but hopefully would grab such things as our small safes with handles. I definitely would take puppy wuppy(our poodle), the safes with important papers and my gold jewelery. If dh was home he would take the lead I know.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

I love all these answers!

I'll check back around nine or so and draw a winner of the book . . .

4:08 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

How scary, Lin. When we lived in Texas we were on the fringe of a tornado. Scariest thing I've ever been in. Amazing how fast the weather can go from calm to deadly.

I'm so glad you're all okay.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Tehya said...

Have seen the devastation a tornado brings first hand. I pray nobody has to go thru it. Glad you and your family is safe Linda!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Missy Sue said...

My matters most is a five year old with eyes that are so brown they're almost black. The greatest thing I've ever (and will ever) do, my beautiful son. I know how tragedy can open your eyes to what means nothing in this world and what means everything. So happy to see that your family remained safe!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Diane Craver said...

I'd grab my daughters born with Down syndrome. Two children are away at college and two live in their own places. My husband and I would definitely take care of our daughters because family is the most important. I can't think of anything else I'd grab.

Glad you and your loved ones are fine.

5:59 PM  

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