Kirsten Mustain

Editor, Grove Sun

My family has an odd relationship with the weather.

I suppose that isn’t surprising, since we are from Oklahoma, which is the capital of odd weather.

Almost every place I have ever lived featured a few extremes, but Oklahoma is definitely the most interesting place, weather wise, that I have ever experienced. No matter how long I live here, nature seems to have another new twist in store.

Tornadoes, blizzards, lightning storms, straight line winds strong enough to roll a semi, ice storms, huge hail, chest deep snow . . . you name it . . . if you’ve been in Oklahoma for more than a few years, you’ve probably experienced it.

My family takes all this tumultuous cloud play in stride, however. If you live in Oklahoma, you have learned at an early age to persevere with the party no matter what.

I think it comes from our ancestors, who were crazy enough to abandon civilization for the land rush.

The first time I became fully aware of my family’s blatant disregard for dangerous weather was on the Fourth of July many years ago. There was a large group of us at the family farm – cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, parents. We were all sitting in metal lawn chairs and when the wind whipped up and it began to rain sideways, we merely moved into the garage.

The family farm in Afton is situated on the prairie atop a sheet of clay topsoil that holds water better than your mother’s best mixing bowl.

It wasn’t long before there was water standing up to our ankles, even in the garage. And lightning was striking all around.

“Huh,” said one of my cousins. “Water and metal are pretty good conductors.”

“We’re liable to all get electrocuted,” said my aunt. “Wipe us all out in one fell swoop.”

“That’d be embarrassing,” said another cousin.

“Yeah,” I said. “Imagine the headlines. ‘Insane Mustains massacred in freak accident.’”

“How about, ‘Natural selection takes its toll?’” said someone else.

“Entire clan electrocuted in spectacular garage strike.”

“Family incinerated in standing water . . .”

And so it went. We had exhausted the headline possibilities and the storm had moved on by the time we all went inside.

I suppose, then, it should not have surprised me to discover myself walking across a field with my mother and my stepfather in a blizzard at midnight on Christmas.

We were too cold to brainstorm the headlines about a family of three perishing in the driving snow only two hundred feet from a well heated home.

It had begun innocently enough with a visit to my aunt’s house, about a quarter mile away.

Who knew the wind would be so harsh? It was only the Blizzard of 2009.

Fortunately, we made it home fine. Only to turn around the next day and haul an entire Christmas feast - a large turkey with all the trimmings and several kinds of dessert - back across the snow-covered pasture. Well, we wouldn’t want things to be too easy, now would we?

Weather wise and every otherwise we are ending a tumultuous decade.

There have been terrorist attacks, tsunamis, destructive hurricanes, crippling ice storms, wars, and global financial disasters.

The United States has elected its first black president and seen its first female presidential candidate.

Wow.

It's been kind of like Oklahoma weather - always a new twist.

I don’t know what’s next, but I do know that everything has changed at the beginning of this brand new millennium. Nothing is as it was ten years ago.

The only thing we can do as a nation is to persevere. We can look at the positive things we’ve accomplished over the past ten years and build on them.

We can look at the tragedies and learn what we can, so we will be better prepared for what the future holds.

And we can always remember to keep our senses of humor in the face of gale force winds.

We will end this year with a blue moon on December 31st. All sorts of things only happen once in a blue moon.

Happy New Year, Grove. It should be an interesting one.