Well, the weather wizards had been warning us for the past week … “Bad weather is heading your way on Thursday, Friday and Saturday!” they screamed. And guess what, they were actually right this time. Yesterday, I decided to postpone a Breakfast for Lunch luncheon I had scheduled with a group of people with whom I used to work. It was scheduled for the new ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE that had just opened across the street from where we used to work. I waited until the last-minute yesterday afternoon when the weather forecast said, “Severe thunderstorms arriving about 11 am. and continuing until mid-afternoon.” I cancelled the luncheon, knowing full well that today would dawn bright and sunny.
And I confirmed they had played me for a weather fool again, when I woke up to cobalt blue skies and heavenly sunshine.
Fortunately, they lasted all of 45-minutes before the cumulonimbus clouds started floating in overhead while thunder rumbled in the distance.
Cumulonimbus (from the Latin cumulus (“heap”) and nimbus (“cloud”) is a dense towering vertical cloud associated with thunderstorms and atmospheric instability, forming from water vapour carried by powerful upward air currents. Cumulonimbus may form alone, in clusters, or along cold front squall lines. They may produce lightning and other dangerous severe weather, such as gusts, hail and even tornadoes.
And around eleven, the clouds broke open and dumped a downpour on West Walnut Manor, if not all of the metropolitan area. It rained until mid-afternoon when the sun returned cajoling us into a false security of a wondrous June is busting out all over end to the month of May. Then the cumulonimbus started rolling back in and the local TV stations went from Weather Update to WALL-TO-WALL THE EARTH IS ENDING NON-STOP WEATHER ALERT STATUS. Frankly, there’s nothing on Friday night TV anyway since the season ended a week or so ago. So I nuked a bowl of split pea and ham soup and grilled a ham and swiss hoagie sandwich for my dinner. As I was washing up the dishes the tornado warning sirens began growling. “A tornado has just touched down in Saint Charles, Missouri.” This was quickly followed by, “There are reports that the roof of the Hollywood Casino on the Missouri River has been blown off!” And then, “People living in Earth City, Florissant, St. Ann and West Walnut Manor are advised to seek shelter NOW.”
Well, that included me and Mlle. Renee, so I grabbed my double beam sure hand grip flashlight, cell phone, football helmet and Mlle. Renee, and headed for our subterranean hidy-hole. Just as I got to the back door, the landline rang. I quickly grabbed it to hear my older brother shout, “Why aren’t you and the dog in the basement‽ Don’t you know there’s a tornado head right for you‽” “I would have been there already, if I hadn’t stopped to answer the phone,” I shouted as I hung up and caught up with Renee.
Once in the basement, Mlle. Renee headed for my old darkroom and headed directly for my sturdy enlarger table and equipment shelf I had attached to the foundation wall. Renee really is a smart dog! I headed for my fold-up lawn chair at the front of the darkroom which is directly under the TV in the living room. (I was smart enough to turn up the audio on the TV before I headed into the basement. So I could hear the weather status from down below.) Then all we had to do was wait out the storm.
The wind began to switch … the house to pitch
And suddenly the hinges … started to unhitch
Just then the witch … to satisfy an itch
Went flying on her broomstick … thumbing for a hitch
Just what I needed … an ancient ear-worm to keep me and the dog company! (Yip Harburg really was a great lyricist – anyone want to guess the name of the song?)
Within a short period of time, I heard reports of the tornado doing some damage at Saint Louis International Airport, damaging some cars on I-70, and snapping 3-feet in diameter trees in half in Saint Ann. Like the planes approaching the airport for a landing the storm was following I-70 as a flight path. Then the storm crossed the Mississippi River to wreak havoc in Illinois.
Since the ground around the house (as well as most of the metro area) had become saturated with rain water over the past couple of days, the heavy rainfall that fell during the storm began to seep through cracks that had formed in the foundation during last year’s drought. And Mlle. Renee does not like getting her feet wet inside the house. So with cat’s-paw feet we tiptoed over the tiny rivulets running to the drain and went back upstairs.
Bet your bottom dollar
There’ll be sun!
It’s damp, gloomy and chilly outside and Mlle. Renee is napping on my bed … so I decided to clean out the photo folders on my computer desk top.
First, there’s this photo of an awning sign that’s over a chain of Wicket City restaurants …
What exactly is St. Louis fish and chicken Chicago style?
And if you thought a talking clock was scary …
It was staged on a thrust stage that projected out over the orchestra pit and into the audience, and my seat was exactly in the center of the first row about a foot from the stage. It was like William Daniels (John Adams) was talking directly to me.
I worked in the in-house advertising agency of a retail shoe company that specialized in women’s footwear … as a copywriter, sales promotion director, events planning director and broadcast producer and director. Well, it was over quite a few years.
Why are these men always laughing?
Really, Rob, really!
I was actually considering this for yesterday’s IN THE BACKGROUND photo challenge.
Well, that cleans out all the junk that was cluttering up my desktop and the sun has come out again. Enjoy!
Yesterday, I sat down to eat breakfast. It was SHREDDED WHEAT, and since it was my father’s favorite, as well as all my uncles, it had become my favorite at a very early age. Only yesterday, when I looked down in my bowl, I realized that contrary to the cereal box claims my shredded wheat biscuit was not the Original Big Biscuit of my childhood. It was a shrunken version.
RETURN WITH US NOW
TO THOSE THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR!
Who could forget that un-cereal shaped box with the picture of Niagara Falls. For years I thought the wheat got shredded by falling over the falls. And amazed that it never got soggy. Back then the biscuits were simply stacked in the cardboard box with each layer of biscuits separated by a rectangle of cardboard. No sissy wax paper bag infiltrated with chemical retardants to preserve the freshness of this cereal. Besides the cards were imprinted with things a kid could really use.
Things like the Nabisco Toytown Carnival that I was able to cut out and assemble into a mini-table top carnival. And if I ate enough cereal, I might be able to collect all the different sets of cards to build the entire carnival. With three different cards in a box, I’d only have to eat twelve boxes to complete the set if I was lucky.
When I was ten, Nabisco started sponsoring my favorite radio program … STRAIGHT ARROW! That’s when they started using the jingle at the start of every program.
Nabisco is the name to know.
For a breakfast, you can’t beat
Eat Nabisco Shredded Wheat!”
An indian … oops … a native american sounding voice would chant the words in a tom-tom beat way while an organ pretending to be a drum beat in the background.
“Keen eyes fixed on a flying target… a gleaming arrow set against a rawhide string… a strong bow bent almost to the breaking point… and then… “
The sound of a bow being pulled back, an arrow being released and flying through the air, and a thud as it reached the target!
Golly, those were the days.
Today, NABISCO’s gone … and no one remembers that Indian boy who grow up to be an ordinary old west rancher with out anyone knowing he was really a “redskin.” Except when wrongs needed to be righted and he became that Comanche hero, STRAIGHT ARROW! THUD!!!
And the shredded wheat biscuits are smaller … it’s not just my imagination. Back when I was a kid the package that contained twelve biscuits weighed twelve ounce. Today’s package of eighteen biscuits weighs fifteen ounces. That’s .83333 of an ounce instead of the full ounce biscuit of yesteryear.And the biscuits now come wrapped in three biscuit paper bag that is chockfull of chemicals to maintain freshness. I wonder, if we eat wrapper as well as the shredded wheat biscuits within will we live forever?
Anyway, putting three biscuits into a bag creates yet another quandary. The suggested serving size is TWO biscuits. That means there is always going to be one left over. And Mlle. Renee doesn’t like Shredded Wheat.
Can you possible think of an era without sprawling shopping centers and even ubiquitous strip-malls? When my family moved to the burbs in the early fifties, the main street was lined with small independent shops and stores. Last spring I walked along this street for a trip into yesteryear. In the mid-fifties the first shopping center in the area was built, and gradually the small shops were closed and converted for other uses. Eventually, most were bulldozed and replace with larger modern buildings. But dotting the street there were still a few of the old buildings like this one. Mostly in disrepair …
I have no idea what it originally housed, I think it might have been a kids shoe store. I know there was one on that block. Or perhaps it was one of the several neighborhood barber shops that were on that street. (Men used to get their hair cut more often back then. Sometimes even every week.) You can tell it had wide plate-glass windows on the front, and a much wider front door. The ceramic coping stones still top the side walls, but the cornice has fallen away. Also the aged building is starting to shed the coat of latex paint that was used to spruce up it up. The same can be said for the for the last business to occupy the building. Action Printing hasn’t seen much printing later. But the building is still around after at least a century.
As to the shopping center that brought the little shops and stores to their demise, it didn’t even last fifty years. Bigger and fancier centers and malls enticed its customers away, until it was as vacant and forlorn as the little independent store is. When that happened, its multi-levels were demolished. And about ten years ago they started replacing it with a new shopping mall with individual small shops and larger stores arranged in single level block like formations.
If it wasn’t surrounded by acres of parking spaces it would almost look like the rows of little shops that once lined the street where these now stand. What goes around, comes around.
I know it’s still winter, but the temps were in the 60′s yesterday when Renee took me for my walk. And here’s what we saw …
I got a little laugh out of that billboard … mainly because DIY always results in OMG whenever anyone in my family attempts a seemingly simple home improvement. I guess that makes it an inherited trait and/or handicap.
I posted a picture of this old farmhouse a couple of years ago. This time one of the tall old trees that stood next to the house has just fallen over at ground level. The roots had all decayed. We saw three more trees at various location that had done the same thing. We also saw this tree that is starting to pull out of the ground.
I checked the trees in my yard when we got home and they all seem firmly grounded.
HIGH ENERGY REFLECTIONS IN A RAIN PUDDLE
We also had to walk around this big puddle of Thursday’s all-day rainfall on one of the side streets on our way home. Renee does not walk in rain puddles.
We skipped our walk today. Though the weather was nice early this morning, we have had very strong winds. Also the temp has been dropping a degree or two every quarter-hour, and it’s getting rather frosty out. It’s supposed to hit the low 20s by midnight with freezing rain turning into sleet and ultimately snow.
Think I’ll make a pot of soup or chili for dinner.