Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chasing storms? Not me!

photo by James L. Standfield via

People do the darndest things........One of our Elementary Teachers, down in the Primary
Grades was a "Storm Chaser."  Storms in the Chihuahua  Desert come up suddenly, mostly
appearing first, in the East,  over Guadalupe  Peak, and you could count  on this lady
jumping into her car and following the storm......One evening, along about 8PM, she  came
by the house, pointed at the lightning and thunder  in the South East, and told  me.....Not
asked me, mind you, told me , to jump in the car  and help her catch up to the storm.

Now,  as a married man, I couldn't see just jumping into a car with a woman, leaving my
wife and chasing a storm......It did not seem designed to promote domestic tranquility.

So, I asked her the vital question, "After you've caught the storm,  what are you going to
do with it?"    In response, she told me that by tracking the storm she just might save the
whole town!     Save the town?   Yea, and destroy my marriage while she was at it.....I didn't
want any part of whatever game she was playing, and I wasn't convinced that Storm Warnings
were what she was up to.

So I explained to her that all she needed to do was look at the sky for lightning, and when
you saw it, start counting 1 (one thousand) 2 (one thousand)  3 (one thousand) and when you heard the thunder, stop!    Whatever number you got to was how far the storm was from you.
Do it several times and you could  tell if it was getting closer or farther.

About that moment, I saw a flash and started counting....I had reached 4 when I heard the
thunder....."There!"   says I,  it's 4 miles away.....The next lightning was 5 miles away,
then 6....Plainly, the storm was headed south, away from us.

Then, she wanted to follow it anyway.......Well,  this did not look like weather forcasting
at all......Maybe "Hanky-Panky"  but   who knows......She was obviously miffed.  She
was going anyway!

So I asked how?  There were no roads going south except FM 1111  and the Fort Davis
Highway.....and miles of empty desert between the two points......Was she going to chase
it clean across the Diablo Mountains on foot?

Then came the What If's.   What if it  started a flash flood?   I'd hate it, of course, but there
was nothing for 50 miles in that direction.....It would doubtless drown a few rabbits and
tarantulas, maybe a rattler or two.   I concluded that I wasn't into giving mouth to mouth
resecutation to any of those creatures....Especially the Rattler.

Well, the subject changed, what if it spawned a tornado?   Well, say's I,  in that case
I'd watch "Piewacket," my Seal Point Siamese cat......He would  recognize the pressure
changes before I would.  At that point, said cat rubbed against my leg and assured me
that he would, in fact, do just that.......After that, it would be every cat for himself.

At that point, she said something I didn't quite hear, jumped into her car and sped off
after the storm......Mary looked at me and asked, "Is she playing with a full deck?"
I shrugged,   "Maybe, maybe not,  but whether she is  just a few cards short of a full
deck, or a divorcee with a hormonal surge, I don't want any part  of  the game."

Mary looked at me, and replied, "That's what I love about you, you're smarter than you
seem to be."

So I stroked Mr. Piewacket , and pondered  whether or not I had been complimented.
.......but he didn't understand females either.   The lightning flashed again, this time
the thunder was 10 seconds behind..."She'd better hurry,"  I said, " that storm is about to get
away from her!"

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