It started with the sound of booming thunder miles away.
The peace of a sleepy, breezy summer evening was startled by a loud warning buzzer on the TV. From the screen room, the sounds were odd, out of place.
But when we checked the TV, the blue tornado warning screen completely replaced the picture.
Haven't seen this before.
Then we saw the radar and the swirly bright red cell within the dark green mass heading directly in our path. And the news station responsible for all of New England was mentioning our little town by name as in the path of a potential tornado.
OK. Time to hunker down.
Heading back outside, we methodically took down the umbrellas and carried chairs and toys — anything that could turn into a missile — inside the screen room or the garage.
The sky turned ominously dark, yet there was no longer a breeze. The air was murky, stone-cold silent, still.
When we got back into the house, the warning was a bit sterner, the familiar tone of TV audio replaced by a guy who sounded like he was on a walkie-talkie, telling us to go to the basement and call neighbors.
With our phones, flashlight, extra batteries, snacks and waters, we found a secure spot in the corner of the basement, tucked close next to 6 feet of poured concrete.
We turned on the basement TV and watched the threatening cells pass over our house, first one, then another. The sky turned completely dark. The sound of hail stones rattled off the bulkhead. Streaks of spider lightning flashed through the windows.
We ate Doritos and sipped water. We checked e-mail. We Facebooked. We talked. We sang. We played with stuffed animals and dolls. We played with a musical house. We wore funny hats.
Then it was over.
No tornado. Just darkness, thunder, lightning, hail and rain.