According to Harold Camping’s doomsday prediction the world was going to end with earthquakes, but tornadoes seem to be raining down on the midsection of the United States.
Starting last month in Tuscaloosa Alabama, where a tornado with wind speeds up to 200 miles per hour flattened the town, last Sunday a six mile swath of Joplin, Missouri was shredded by winds up to 300 miles per hour, on Tuesday deadly twisters fell in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, on Wednesday a rare tornado in N. California, and on Thursday there were more than 600 reports of severe weather across the country, including five tornadoes that stretched from the Gulf to Canada and as far east as Vermont.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this has become the deadliest year for tornadoes since 1953, with over 500 deaths from 1,000 tornadoes so far.
I cannot imagine the power of a wind that can “flatten everything as far as the eye can see”.
Hundreds of people are dead and missing and thousands are homeless, their possessions scattered by the wind. Their stories are heartbreaking. I weep with them, and I salute people like Betty Londergan, who earlier this week drove three hours with a group of volunteers from Atlanta to help sort food at a Food Bank in Alabama…
Over in my part of the country people were doing crazy things today. Was it ripple effects from the wind?
On our commute this morning, while carpool Eric and I were stopped at a red light at the exit ramp with the tall grass, we watched a man in a white BMW park his car on a narrow strip at the side, get out the car, and pee standing there, his back to the busy road.
Standing in front of me she sneezed, spraying me with spit.
Turning to her friend she said, “This isn’t the desert. Why are there so many things to be allergic to?” but forgot to say ‘excuse me’ to the cashier in front of her.
I should’ve taken a photo of the cashier.
About half a dozen people opened the exit door opposite my Satellite store clearly marked:
“Emergency Exit. Alarm will Sound.“
When they realized they’d set off the emergency alarm some tried to run away, some blushed and apologized to anyone in sight, while a few didn’t even realize what they’d done, and had to be called back inside.
A man in the one of the galleries snapped the pendulum off one of the four hundred year old French clocks on display.
“I wanted to see how the clock worked,” he said to the security guard.
As you know I meet interesting people at my cash register every day, but as I don’t tell you about them every day, I’ve got a backlog of stories still waiting to be shared, for instance this one from last summer:
From the conversation of the two women standing in front of my register I assumed it was a family reunion, and they were catching up on news. While I rang up the older woman’s purchase: Leonard Freed’s photography book “Black in White America“, and took her cash, she asked her companion about her studies. The young woman explained – very earnestly – that she was about to graduate from community college, and that photography was her favorite subject.
When the book was presented to the young woman, she hugged it to her chest with many grateful thanks and promises to work hard, the two women shook hands – which I thought odd and formal – and then the young woman went outside, but her older companion joined a man looking at the books.
Do you know that young woman?” I asked the older woman.
“No,” she said, “I’ve never met her before.”
Photography books aren’t cheap. “You just bought that book for a total stranger?”
“Yes,” she said. “I could see she appreciated Leonard’s pictures in the exhibition. I hope the book will help her in her studies.”
“To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?” I asked
“Brigitte Freed,” she said. Leonard Freed’s widow. If she’d introduced herself she could’ve received a special author’s discount on the book, but she’d paid the full price, and for someone she didn’t know.
“I am honored to meet you,” I said, “and delighted to tell you we’re most probably cousins, as I have the same surname as you.”
Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me that day.
I’m proud to say that Brigitte Freed has included me as one of her family. I got a Christmas card from her last December.