Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Small Tornado

By Rob Watson

Everyone has seen the destruction done by large tornadoes. Whole towns, even significant parts of cities destroyed. The average tornado is 75 yards (meters) wide. An average of 55 touch down in State every year. Here I would like to show you the effects of a small tornado. This property belonged to my friend Charlie. This first view is of an equipment building that was blown down.

The august person in the center of this second photo is your humble correspondent. Notice that the large, full, grain bin in the background is undamaged as is the small empty one in the foreground.

The tornado bypassed these empty grain bins as well...

Here is a combine head for harvesting sunflowers... it is mostly undamaged.

 In the background is an undamaged animal barn.

Below, the large bin on the left was empty. The small one in the middle was used to store odds and ends.
Here, part of the roof of the equipment building rests in the shelter belt north of the place.

The rest of the roof landed about 200 yards (meters) north of the shelter belt.

The trail of this tornado wandered across a milo field for a few hundred yards before doing the damage seen in the pictures above. The corn in the foreground of this last picture shows it was still on the ground  a few dozen yards after the row of trees. Then, no doubt satisfied with itself, it lifted and went to that great thunder cloud in the sky.

The Song In My Heart

By Rob Watson

The other day one of the love songs of my youth came back to me. I sang it to myself. Today it came back to me in the early predawn hours. I sang it again. It set me to thinking of songs and their relationship to my life. For many years I was a closet romantic, or at least, an unsuccessful one. I entertained myself with songs, lots of songs.

"The Wayward Wind" should have been my lifelong theme song. I have lived in nearly 30 places in my 60 plus years and traveled to hundreds. Trouble is, I never thought of myself as a wanderer. I always loved coming home to rest. After about two weeks of wandering I was ready for my own house and bed. I didn't grow up to the sound of the "outward bound" and I always found train whistles in the night a great irritation, as opposed to a calling.  I have made a number of train trips but they never really attracted me either, as departure time always seem to be 12 midnight. "Wandering Star" from "Paint Your Wagon" is one I sing frequently, for entertainment, because I would like to identify with its theme... but do not.

"The Impossible Dream" from "The Man of La Mancha" is one of my favorites. I use to spend a lot of time dreaming... impossible dreams... in former years, mostly about the girls. This is no longer necessary as Wife is an amiable and satisfying companion.

The love song, learned early in adolescence, that I frequently immagined myself singing to a girl, went like this:

When I was young and dreams were new, I loved a girl a lot like you.
I saw her face in mountain streams and lost myself in dreams.
but we were young and tossed away our precious love along the way,
we parted strangers and set our hearts to wander aimlessly.
But looking back, somehow I see, how seldom love has come to me.
and I confess, I think of her, remembering when...
If I were young, and dreams were new, I'd love a girl a lot like you.
I'd hold her close if she'd agree to love, perhaps, a boy a lot like me.

Trouble is, there was never a "her" or a "we". No face to see "in mountain streams". No "love" to "toss away." The truth to tell, is, I had a serious lack of boldness. If there ever might have been a "her" I was too cowardly to make it a "we".

The song I really always sang and really resonated in my soul was "On The Street Where You live" from "My Fair Lady". I would walk, ride my bicycle, or drive past the home of my crush de jour singing that song.  This lasted well into my college years, until... One very pleasant day I took a rather attractive young woman on a fancy evening out... Dinner at a fine restaurant, and a movie: "My Fair Lady". In the process I learned my favorite love song was sung by the looser. This fact struck way too close to the truth. I was truly a looser in love. I do not recall if I ever passed another young woman's home again, but I clearly remember never singing that song again.

The character trait women want most, in their man, is self confidence, a quality I was wholly lacking until the middle years of my life. Then I met Wife and have lived happily ever after.  An impossible dream coming true. That is the reason love songs now seem to come only from a long, dark, and distant past.