The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Everybody Talks about the Weather, But...

By Peggy Kendrick © 1991

Issue: June, 1991

"Looks like the worst storm in twenty years," A.W. said, looking out the window of Bill's Service Station as he stirred his coffee.

"Yeah," Bill agreed. "Scarecorn Creek washed the mill away that time."

"Maybe we should warn the fella who bought the place," J.C. suggested. "His buildings are on the old foundations."

"He was in here this morning," Bill said. "Him and his family spent the night filling sandbags. I figure other folks ain't so well prepared."

The other two nodded.

"Least we ain't had any tornados," J.C. said. "Remember them tornados we had about ten years ago? You can still see signs of it over at Bitter Creek."

There was another round of nods.

After a time A.W. said," Seems to me," then he paused to make sure they were listening. "That tornados are always near water. Creeks or rivers or lakes."

Only Bill nodded. "My sister saw three little tornados on the fishpond one morning," he said.

"What about Ernie Ennis?" J.C. asked. "His place isn't near the water and his house got blowed away."

"They never said for sure it was a tornado," A.W. said.

"Then what was it?" J.C. challenged.

A.W. took time to sip his coffee. "Wind," he said as he sat in his usual chair. "That's what WAAB said."

J.C. snorted. "You mean wind tore its way from Homerville, across hills and woods, knocked over Elmer's house, then went on to Cornerstone, doing more damage?" J.C. shook his head. "I can't imagine that."

"If it came from Homerville it had to cross Scarecorn Creek," Bill said, purposely fueling the discussion.

A.W. brightened. "Then maybe it was a tornado," he graciously conceded.

"You can't straddle the fence, A.W., set to go either way when it suits you," J.C. said with disgust.

"I'm saying it was a tornado," A.W. said.

"Well I still say there ain't any water near Elmer's place," J.C. said.

"What about the creek behind his house?" Bill asked as he tuned the radio to WAAB.

"What creek?" A.W. and J.C. asked.

"The one that runs from the fishpond," Bill said. "It passes behind Elmer's and runs into Scarecorn Creek."

"See," A.W. said to J.C. "The tornado was drawn across land to the creek right through Elmer's house," he finished with triumph.

"Well, if you're so smart you tell me how a tornado always seems to find a house or shed or barn out in the middle of nowhere," J.C. said, waiting with arms crossed over his chest.

A.W. thought a minute. "Because buildings aren't part of the natural landscape," he finally said. "Tornados are drawn their way because they stand out."

J.C. wanted to dispute this but he couldn't. He just got up from his chair and went to the coke box to get a long neck bottle of coke. "What's the local news say?" He asked Bill, pointedly ignoring A.W.

"Rain today, tonight, and tomorrow," Bill said.

A.W. stared out at the gray rain and slowly shook his head. "I don't see how it can keep this up," he said.

The other two nodded agreeable.