It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Last night was the kind of night that weathermen in the Heartland start warning you about way early in the day.  As the day wore on, the warning area kept growing larger until about the evening time when most of the State Map was one color or another.  Most of it was yellow for tornado watches but there were red cells with lines drawn out ahead of them showing where there had been circulation spotted in the clouds.  These areas were generally accompanied with warning of golf ball to baseball sized hail. 

Nothing hit really near here but I did keep a fine watch on the local channels just in case.  In case you didn't know of have forgotten, in 1983 a tornado came to visit and we were home at the time.  Our house on Driftwood court was pushed off the foundation and we had to rebuild.  The good news is that we had fairly good insurance and most of the loss was covered.  The irreplaceable things were not lost and life went on.  That did make us a lot more aware of warnings. 

In 1961, the year of the Kansas Centennial, I earned a trip to Colorado by selling newspaper subscriptions.  I did so well in my own route that the District Manager took me to several other routes an I not only earned a trip, I made a good amount of pocket change.  The highlight of that trip was the trip up the Mount Manitou Incline.  We had been in line for a half an hour when they announced a severe weather warning and shut down the train ride up the side of the mountain.  The manager had us all move in under an awning over the loading platform and we watched in awe as an intense rain/hail storm closed in on us.  One of the trip sponsors had just purchased a brand new Chevy Station Wagon and the hail beat the hell out of that car.  I had never seen baseball sized hail until then.  It broke the windshield out of that car and  it looked like an Army of Midgets armed with ball peen hammers had attacked the body.  We had a front row seat to that hail storm and I will always believe it when they say stay out of the hail.

The other day, I was thinking about the damage the septic system truck would do to Dave yard when a story from Vietnam came to mind.    In the middle of the Monsoon season, a unit in our support area got hit and  we fired for several hours.  At first light, I went out to witness the damage done to the floor of the parapet from the firing of the howitzer.  The trails of the gun had dug down and in the ground so far that the howitzer was at almost a 45 degree angle to the ground.  The crew and volunteers from the other gun sections dug most of the morning to free the gun from the mud.  They gathered up debris and tried their best to fill the hole left there in the parapet.  They moved the gun several feet to the rear so the spades on the trail could dig in new dirt rather than in the hole.  The next day. there was a fire mission and one of the cannoneers was helping move the gun to a new direction.  As he got to the place where the hole was, he started to sink into the muck in the hole and... well, I do need to stop here and tell you that there was a project 100,000 where lower IQ soldiers that would have been turned down for service without a war were allowed into Infantry and Artillery units.  Our nominee for French Fries short of a Happy Meal was called Big Whoopee.  OK, back to the story.  As Big Whoopee stepped into the hole, he started to be pushed deeper and deeper. He hollered, "Hep me, this dam thing will push me down in this hole and I'll die."  The other guys almost fell down laughing.  They told him to simply let go of the howitzer and get the hell out of the hole. He did and the progression towards total immersion stopped.  That is a story that was told over and over for weeks.  The story was always told with the opening words, "Hep Me."  The rest of the story was not necessary as laughter would break out anyway.

Oh well, better get going.


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