A Bad Southwester

It was shorts and tee-shirt weather today. It got up to 77 °F and was as windy as all get out. Anne and I had a lovely breakfast at the Southwest Diner, on Southwest Avenue and features Southwest cuisine. They had a movie poster on the wall there for a 1950s gangster film, featuring Steve McQueen. Called “The Great Saint Louis Bank Robbery”, this black and white motion picture was based upon actual events. It even included some of the participating policemen and bank employees as extras. It was filmed on location at Southwest Bank, where the robbery occurred and which still stands there and operates to this day. After breakfast, we drove over to Southwest and Kingshighway and took a picture of the bank’s trademark golden eagle.

Since we were so close then, we decided to visit the botanical gardens next. We had been listening to KDHX, the non-corporate public radio station in town. So, just as we were pulling into the garden’s parking lot, Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” came on the air. Anne claimed a driveway moment, so we sat in the car and listen to the song in its entirety. Today was a week after the anniversary of that wreck, but the unseasonably warm weather and the forecast for storms today must have led the DJ to channel those November witches of long ago.

I kept a weather eye on the sky and the other one on my iPhone weather App. We stayed close to the Climatron, so we could duck into it at a moment’s notice, which we did at the first sign of rain. The YouTube video shows those unfortunates who hesitated only a minute. At the height of the storm, I got to thinking that maybe taking cover in an all glass (really Plexiglas) building wasn’t the best of ideas. This thought was confirmed a moment later, when the climate control fans at the apex of the dome kicked on with a very loud thud. It scared the bejesus out of everyone.

Rainbow at the Garden

Rainbow at the Garden

The storm cell passed over us quickly, leaving only minor damage at the gardens, mostly downed limbs and damage to one of the holiday lights displays. However, when the storm line crossed into Illinois it exploded into dozens of tornadoes that raced across that state and then on to Indiana. We warned Dave, who eventually took the hint. After the storms passed, there were reports of scattered, but widespread power outages. We decided that maybe we should check on the house and headed for home, but there were no problems there. Later, one of our Facebook friend, Chris Romer, published a wind map of the Eastern US. It showed all of the winds funneling up through Michigan. He subtitled it, “Canada is sucking the soul out of America.”

We lucked out today. We dodged a bullet. We have the luxury to read about others misfortune. As that movie poster said, “Real as the screaming headlines – True as the bullets that wrote them.”

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