A tornado ripped through a town of 5,000 people and blew down everything in its path except the trailer park, which stood up to the twister’s 240 mph winds. The nearby million-dollar homes and businesses were blown to splinters.
Miraculously, nobody was killed in the storm, which demolished 27 brick- and wood-frame homes and laid waste to 11 modern buildings in the city’s business district.
The twister lasted just four minutes as it swept through Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa and the surrounding countryside.
But when all was said and done, the Summer Breeze Motor Court was still standing, the only damage being a single broken window in the community’s clubhouse – the victim of a heavy, chrome-plated espresso maker blown in from an upscale neighborhood that was laid to waste a few miles away.
“For once in my life I’m glad I’m trailer trash,” Innes Gerve, who’s called his 12-by-60 single-wide home for 17 years, told me in an interview.
“Everyone in town used to look down on us and call us names like ‘garbage’ and ‘peon’. Now they’re living in cars and tents and wishing they had a trailer too.
“It feels real good to be better off than other people,” he added. “Now I know what it’s like to be one of the haves instead of the have-nots.”
The bizarre and terrifying drama unfolded in the wake of a powerful thunderstorm that created atmospheric conditions under which tornadoes, or cyclones as they are called south of the equator, are at high risk of forming.
“I heard the warning on my radio,” police detective Roger Helstorer told me. “And a few minutes later, the worst happened. A black funnel cloud formed in the sky just west of town.
“It got bigger and blacker and longer until it finally touched the ground,” he said. “I could see lawn chairs and barbecue grills and even what looked like a kid and his dog being sucked into the air like toy balloons. I drove straight for the trailer park thinking the worst. As it turned out that was the safest place to be. Everybody was dancing around and high-fiving each other and shooting guns in the air. For once in their lives they’d gotten the long end of the stick instead of the short end They couldn’t have been happier that all the misery was, or so it seemed to them, a million miles away – on the ritzy side of town.”
Advisory: Derek Clontz’s Wild World of News is parody and should be read and evaluated as such. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.