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American Red Cross

The house I grew up in was shaped sort of like a serifed L, with me and my siblings at the top and my parents at the other end. Query the wisdom of that setup from a keeping-an-eye-on-the-kids perspective, but I don't know that we'd still be a family of five had that house been almost any other letter in the alphabet on March 13, 1993. That was the morning we woke up and found out there was half of a 50 foot cypress tree where our patio furniture usually sat.

Even as a ten year old I knew we were pretty damn lucky. Nobody got hurt, and the house itself was pretty much unscathed. But it was still so jarring to realize you could go to bed one night with home and family intact and wake up the next morning without one or the other or both. All from a storm nobody could tell you for certain was coming, or where.

Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma - the list of those already affected by this storm is big, and it will grow. If you're bracing for the weather, or if you're recovering from the wake of it, we're keeping you in our thoughts. Stay safe, because we want you to wake up after this is all over and think about how lucky you are. And if you're not in harm's way, do what you can from a distance to help those who will need it.