Thursday, July 02, 2009

Come whatever...

Today in 1863 was the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

But I am not going to write about that. I am going to write about Alta Vista instead.

Alta Vista is a tiny little town in our county, population just over 400. Except for the fact that we are smack! in the center of the continental United States (Ok, that's an exaggeration: Lebanon, Kansas lies SMACK! at the the geographic center of the lower 48.), one might think that this tiny little town was anticipating a hurricane from the Gulf of Mexico. All the windows on the south sides of all the buildings are boarded up. The Lutheran church's beautiful 2-story stained glass windows: plywood.

A few weeks ago, Alta Vista experienced a whopper of a hailstorm. 70 mph winds and hail the size of baseballs. Contrary to hurricane victims, hailstorm victims get little (mainly, no) warning of impending danger. The hail just comes in fast and leaves just as quickly. The Alta Vistans had not boarded their windows in preparation, they boarded up the gaping holes left behind after the storm passed. It is a strange sight to enter this little town from the south, because all one sees is plywood-covered windows. Every house! Nancy, from Alta Vista Packing, lost 11 windows in her home. He car windshield was broken out, and her husband's truck was totalled. She described her evening as such: she just got out of the shower and heard the first hailstone hit the house. And she thought to herself, "Well, there's hail." And no sooner than that, the hail started coming through her windows, into her house! She held her hands out to show me, about the size of a very large tomato. The wind-propelled glass cut through her sofa. The glass shards ruined her carpet and that will have to be replaced.

If one continues the drive through the town, one can see the south side of metal buildings and a few mobile homes which looked like they had been surfaced like a golfball. But these were not tiny dimples; it looked like someone had spent a month of Sundays with a sledgehammer to these buildings. It is the most interesting thing to see.

I think the person who originally coined the term, "Come hail or high water" might rethink those words if they could see THIS town!


Gillian said...

Did you take pictures?

twebsterarmstrong said...

No, no pictures.
I need to make it a habit of carryig my camera in the car!!

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