Hail, Yes, It’s Storming!

I went to lunch with a couple of old classmates last week, Bill Hopkins and Van Riehl. I use the word “old” and not “former” for good reason. That’s Bill in the foreground of a photo from our high school days. You can tell from the body language that he’s trying to work his way out of what would have already been a knuckle-rapping in Ruby Davis’ class. I don’t have any photos of Van because he was an underclassman and beneath note.

During the course of the conversation, they both said that Sandy’s Place, a restaurant down at the Cape Airport has the best catfish around. I take advice like that with a grain of salt from these characters. These are the kind of friends who would tell you, “Oh, sure, the ice is thick enough to skate on,” and “Yes, the electricity is turned off” just before you started working on the light switch.

It never dawned on me that these hooligans could conjure up a near tornado, complete with torrential rain, marble-size hail and wind gusts that made driving almost impossible.

I spent the afternoon up at SEMO talking with Lisa Speer in Special Collections about picking up my Cape photos when I go toes-up. She thought they might have a trash can just the right size to house them.

Storm’s a comin’

Anyway, I called Mother and said, “Let’s hit the catfish joint. Better be waiting, because I think it’s gonna come a gully-washer.” About two hills down Mt. Auburn road, I heard someone on the police scanner say, “We’ve got hail in Chaffee.”

I said, “Let’s find cover, looks like it’s coming our way.” We pulled into a bank drive-through window just as the rain cut loose and the wind began to howl. No sooner had I told the nice lady at the bank we weren’t there to transact business, but to seek shelter from the storm, wind-borne pea-size hail peppered the car.

Video of the storm

After a bit, the hail let up and I thought had caught a break. About the time we were going to turn onto I-55 from William, the hail was back. The water on Siemers Drive was about a foot deep when I spotted a Sonic drive-in with some cover. So did everybody else. There was one last stall open when we got there.

I debated ordering something to justify our parking space, but I saw the curbhops getting blown around and pelted with flying ice that was somewhere between marble-size and maybe an inch around. I figured it would be an act of kindness NOT to have them bring anything to the car. Traffic on the scanner was reporting bad stuff happening all over the area.

Catfish and pie were great

The storm moved quickly out of Cape, the skies brightened and we made it to the airport uneventfully. We lucked out there, too. Because of the storm, we didn’t have to wait in line. By the time we finished some excellent all-you-can-eat catfish, there must have been more than two dozen folks waiting for our table.

Except for trying to kill me in a storm, Bill and Van had some good advice for a change. I recommend the catfish and coconut pie to everyone. Just check the weather forecast first.

11 Replies to “Hail, Yes, It’s Storming!”

  1. Good thing it was itty bitty hail. I bet you get some big ones there. Our little Geo Tracker was totaled by baseball size hail in Socoro, New Mexico. We still have it. Every panel has multiple dents. It’s quite a conversation piece, and cheap to buy back from the insurance company. Claire put a scratch down the side of it last night, and neither of us blinked. Once you have a hundred dents, who cares about a scratch.

    1. Mother was good about teaching us kids not to be afraid of bad weather, but I could tell she wasn’t all that comfortable with THIS storm.

      That’s one of the advantages of still having a scanner in the car. I could fire it up and tell how bad the storm was, which way it was moving and when we should look for cover.

      I imagine that some cars got a few dings before it was over.

  2. Sometimes the worst thing about a scanner is knowing what’s coming and no place to hide, or thinking it’s over and the fun begins!

  3. Nice set up on what appears to be an Android phone. Would be nice to get details on your setup.

    Anyway, we had between golf ball to baseball size hail last week just south of Charlotte. All of my manager’s cars were affected. Pictures tell the story, he kept quart size baggies in the freezer full of evidence.

    Also when you hear reports like this don’t forget your furry friends outside. I’m sure one good size meteor size clump of ice would do in our Pomeranian.

    1. I used to use a vent-mounted universal holder for my Droid Incredible, but it blocked airflow from the vent and always felt shaky to me.

      Before I headed back to MO, I stopped by Radio Shack for one of the universal mounts designed to suction cup onto the windshield.

      I don’t like stuff hanging from the windshield, so I bought an adhesive disk to glue to the top of the dashboard so the suction cup would have something smooth to stick to.

      The stem of the mount was flexible enough that I could bend it exactly oppositely to the way it was designed to work.

      It’s solid; hasn’t come unsuctioned in 2,500 miles of driving; it doesn’t block any of the ports for charging or audio output, and it’s easy to get the Droid in and out.

      I don’t recall the model number, but it cost about $25.

  4. My folks couldn’t believe I knew about the storm in Cape! They remain off the grid so are fascinated about my Cape news flashes from the eastern end of Long Island. I tell them that I have my sources! Glad you boys had a good dinner. My folks did tell me that was a good place when they took me to Cape Air for my return flight in January. I’ll be back in mid-May and try to check it out. So glad Ken is arranging a good home for the photos and stories. Bravo and keepnit coming!
    Best from one of those insignificant underclassmen like Van!

  5. If you ate at Sandy’s Place, you not only had the best fish in town but also the best waitress. Her name was Donna and her sister is Sandy. Donna’s best friend, Stephanie (my daughter) also works there on Fridays. It’s a great family run operation. Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Now, Ken, you know I said I’d find a good shoebox for your negatives!

    It was great to visit with you. Enjoyed our talk and seeing your photographs. Look forward to brainstorming with you on exhibit ideas!

  7. Thanks, Lisa. It was encouraging to hear a transplant talk so enthusiastically about preserving Cape’s history.

    Background: I wrote in a piece about Kent Library that I had dropped my business card off at the Special Collections office and hadn’t heard from anyone.

    I want to let Lisa off the hook. Word got back to her and she contacted me immediately with an apology and explained that she isn’t at the university all 12 months of the year.

    When we finally did get together, I’m afraid I talked her ear off. Her department is doing some exciting things with digitizing as much material as possible so folks won’t have to go to the library to do research.

    (Oh, and to the person who emailed me that she was uncomfortable with the thought of me going “toes-up,” I have to warn her that I’m already way past my sell-by date. It’s nice to know that my Cape stuff might have a home sometime – hopefully not soon.)

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