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Friday, May 7, 2010

Storm Stories

Earlier this week, Mike and I celebrated the beautifully clear weather by driving down to the lake. It was a dramatic contrast to last weekend when three days of torrential rain, hail, high winds and tornadoes left death, destruction, flood waters and frayed nerves throughout central to west Tennessee and north Mississippi. Neighborhoods in Memphis are still trying to dry out and clean up. Downtown’s city hall wasn’t spared flood damage, and the Beale Street Music Festival on Saturday was shut down and evacuated due to an approaching tornado. Nashville, with a river running right through downtown, took a terrible hit from flooding. Thankfully, the N’ville home of Niece Robin sits high and was spared. Today, weather experts are referring to last weekend’s storms as – not the 100-year floods, but the 1,000-year floods.

It’s more than sobering. Mike and I are fortunate and grateful that our home, neighborhood and those of our families were safe and above water.

On our excursion day we stopped in tiny Ashland, MS for lunch. We enjoy a restaurant on the town square called Square Meals. It offers some traditional Southern food as well as other samplings. Mike had the day’s special barbecue plate, and I had the seared tuna and goat cheese sandwich. Totally scrumptious. It’s not terribly far from historic Holly Springs. If you’re in the neighborhood, try it.

Ashland has a population of about 400 people. Its city limits are one mile wide. One of the weekend’s tornadoes sat down just a few miles outside the hanlet. Will, the restaurant’s owner, observed that if the tornado – which had a base of one and one-half miles – had sat down just two miles over, it would have totally wiped out little Ashland. Frightening to think of the what-ifs.

But on a lighter note.

We were driving through the farmland headed home when Mike burst out laughing. Already miles past what he had seen, he explained it to me. The field on the right had been largely flooded. A cow had been standing in water up to her dainty, bovine butt. Her young calf, barely head and shoulders above the water, was standing next to her, but looking for dinner.

As we approached and then passed the family drama, baby repeatedly dunked his head under water looking for mommy milk. The little guy was hungry, but mommy’s udder was completely submerged. Baby was determined, but we decided that mommy was chilling dinner. A vanilla frostee was surely on the menu.

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