Tuesday, February 7, 2017
There Will Always Be Weather, Whether Or Not
Weather? Yeah, we just had some. Thank you. I did not enjoy it.
Now, I had noticed weather alerts online but tornado watches are nothing new, and we have them way-too-frequently here in south Mississippi. And I was made ever more aware because my cell turns into a FrankenPhone when there are weather alerts--it comes alive! since the screen lights up every two minutes and it's impossible to keep the lock in place. Really annoying. Of course, I don't have TV service at all so I couldn't check the weather that way. Generally, I just try not to get all upset about it and I go about my business.
Today my business was paying for my car tag at the county tax collector's office in the middle of town. Then I had to go mail eBay stuff at the PO Annex and zip up the street from there to go pay my electric bill (which was astounding low this month since the heat in my house is set on 61 degrees--kinda like living in a refrigerator but boy does it save money)
Using my best weather forecasting skills, I looked out the window. Mostly sunny. No worries. I was out the door and on my way.
There was not one single car in tax collector's parking lot, and there was not one single person in the office. Usually there's a 20 minute wait or even longer. All of the employees were glued to the TV screen. Tornadoes on the ground, they said. Me, still unperturbed because, really, there was nothing to do but keep going.
On my way to the PO, the light on my dashboard pinged, and I did find that upsetting--hadn't realized that my gas tank was down to a single gallon. Not good. Still, it seemed better to finish my errands and go to the gas station after since it was on my way home. The sky was getting a lot darker but, you know, it's a rainy day. No big.
Went into the PO. The window worker literally looked heavenward and said, "Thank you, Jesus! She's here on time." (I always go to the PO at 2 PM and I even have an alarm set to remind me; this has become a source of amusement with the Postal workers.) Then he looked at me and said, "I was worried about you. Now you get on out of here and go get you on home to where it's safe." I thanked him. Such a kind man; we always talk about God so I know he meant it when he called upon Jesus.
As I left the PO, the rain started to pelt down. But I needed to go ahead and pay that electric bill. It's not due yet but I wanted to get it over with since I had already written the check. The cashier at the window joked with me about umbrellas. I left the house without one, and it was becoming obvious that I was not gonna get home dry.
The rain was coming down harder, and I knew I needed to put gas in the tank because it just had to be running on fumes and nothing else. But while I was waiting to take a left at the light, the sky just plain opened up. And it wasn't just rain; it was hail. Here's what I know: hail means somebody close by is getting a tornado right that minute. And I was stuck at a traffic light, surrounded by cars. Nothing I could do. Why does stuff always happen when the car is low on gas?!
It was not just a little bit of hail. It was a lot. Most pieces the size of dimes, quite a few the size of quarters. It was scary. But what could I do? Common sense told me that the awning over the gas pumps could be super-dangerous if the wind kicked up. All I could do was drive home. It wasn't far. Just two miles from the gas station. But the hail was getting worse. My car was one of the very, very few on the road. Everyone else obviously had had the sense to have taken shelter.
I swear I could hear my stepfather's voice in the back of my head explaining about how falling objects have greater impact and increased weight due to velocity.....or something like that. He was an engineer. He knew; I don't. But I can still figure out that the faster I go, the more likely it is that hail is gonna smash the windshield. The hail was huge and constant, and broken windows seemed a near certainty. So I went slow. Two miles seemed to take forever. And the noise on the roof was loud. Really loud. I was literally hollering my prayers out loud because I couldn't even hear myself think. "Thank you, God, for putting me right where I am and for giving me this very interesting experience. I don't like it at all but thank you for it. And thank you for keeping me safe." (Trust me, thank you is always the best prayer in any situation.)
My street, when I finally reached it, was covered in places by standing water. No surprise--that always happens and it's worse since a neighbor broke down the edges of the ditch recently. The end of my driveway.....eureka, there it was: and it was under water. I could barely see where to make the turn. The flooding was worse than usual thanks to the clear-cutting that was done to accommodate the move of my former tenant's trailer. As I parked the car, I remembered again that I had no umbrella and it was raining so hard that I could barely see the house 30 feet away. I grabbed an old towel that I keep in the car for emergencies, and I made a run for the back porch.
What a relief to get inside. Just as I pulled off my soggy jacket, the sun came out bright and shining. Amazing. It was like someone had turned a faucet off. Not another single drop of rain. I've still gotta put gas in the car but that will have to wait; I have no desire to go anywhere else today. Imagine that.
Thank you, God, for putting me right where I am and for giving me this very interesting experience.
Life is good.