Wow, what a storm. I was home when it hit. It seemed like a Hurricane to me. Officially it is called a derecho.
A derecho is defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as “A widespread and long-lived wind storm associated with a band of rapidly-moving showers or thunderstorms.”
So what was my first course of action? Step outside like the CNN reporters do and take pictures while the storm rages around me. (Now, the only difference between me and a major news media network reporter is the pay scale and an embroidered rain poncho).
For the last few days, we’ve had lots of “Lookie Lous” around the area, many from out of town. I can tell because they don’t have a gun rack, an empty spare gas can in the pick up bed, or George Strait on the CD player. Their car windows are usually tinted and the bumper hasn’t got a single sticker on it.
So, for those new to rural America, here’s some tips;
First, you are required to wave back if you have been waved at. Don’t matter if ya’ know the person or not. (But keep one hand on your tractor steering wheel while waving).
Second, when you slow down, pull over and talk to someone. Otherwise you’re just blocking traffic (including the tractors riding down the edge of the road). We’re friendly and can tell you which restaurants are open and serving a hot meal, the best breakfast or where to find biscuits and gravy.
If you hear us yelling, its not because we’re upset (usually), but because we’ve lost a bit of our hearing from shooting while hunting and cuttin’ wood with chain saws without ear plugs.
Third, Lookie Lous may be allowed to TEMPORARILY reduce their speed out of the kindness and courtesy of the driver behind them, unless its the police with their strobe lights on, then ya’ll gotta stop and chat a while anyway.
Definition of Temporarily:
Look and get out the way!
Fourth, I know you city Lookie Lous may not have seen a tree in some time, but trust me, our big trees are just as impressive in the vertical position as they are in the horizontal position.
Fifth, You are all welcome to stay and have a bite to eat If we have power. If we don’t, bring some food (and water) with you and pitch in. Most of us are already doing the same, and you’re welcome to join us at the outdoor BBQ in the parking lot, even if we’re hurtin’ a bit at the moment.
Sixth, if you like the impromptu weather show, come on back during one of our fairs or festivals. You’ll be able to have a much better time, see the trees in the vertical position, the food will be hotter and best of all, you won’t have to be out of town by curfew.
Seventh, we have free parking in the back lots downtown, not on the sidewalks. (The two hour downtown parking limit still applies, even if you drive a Mercedes). And despite the fact we’ve been devastated by a storm, the traffic laws still apply. Slow down, stop at all stop signs, (and at our one stoplight), and Do not run over anything that isn’t covered in pavement or gravel. We’re proud, we love our children, our seniors, our livestock, and our community. The biggest traffic jam is usually five cars long at the Dairy Bar and the racetrack is open on Friday nights (weather permitting).
If you run an out of town business and are looking for contracts, be respectful, ask; don’t demand, stop by the chamber office and drop by city hall and get a business license (It’s not a choice, per city ordinance). It won’t cost you an arm and a leg. When the label says Made in America, its a good bet it was made in rural America, so we understand the needs of a businesses .
And last but not least, most businesses and residents are helping out the community and will be more than happy to help you out of the community if you’re not legitimate.
If you still need help, call the health department at (573) 783-2747.