A few weeks ago, the huge cattle ranching, southern state of Texas was burning with a wild firestorm one hundred miles wide driven by the strong winds that traveled East and turned into terrible storms and tornadoes moving across the southern states. I heard people on the radio discussing it. One man (I don't know the term for his position.) who was managing the men fighting the fire said at one point it was so hot their hair burned under their helmets. (I have heard/read that most firemen who die while on duty, die of heart attacks.) He mentioned the serious decisions he had to make regarding his men. At one point he had them on a parking lot in two lines with their backs to each other with hoses pointed outward. I don't know how many weeks the fire burned, I read mentions of it on blogs written by Texans. An Agriculture Extension Agent was interviewed. He talked about the plight of the animals, both wildlife and domestic, that were caught in the fire. I suspect they shot the ones suffering and too badly burned to save, but those that could be saved were rescued. He said it was all very emotional for him, and the ones that really got to him the most, were the little calves that instinctively hid under shrubs to get away from the fire, only to have the shrubs turn into infernos.
That was the last I kept up with the fires, because the next Wednesday, that day alone (April 27), there were 305 tornadoes reported within twenty-four hours and the last report I heard and read was that over 300 people died and approximately one thousand were unaccounted for. The numbers may have grown or shrunk, but at that point I had to quit keeping up with the reports; I couldn't handle it emotionally. These storms were in six southern states, with most of them in the state of Alabama. Of the 305 tornadoes, one behemoth was a quarter mile wide and buzz-sawed a swath 80 miles long, leveling everything in its path. Whole neighborhoods were blown down and away. One person wrote on YouTube that it was so wide they didn't realize they were looking at a tornado. He had a video of it. The TV weather channel, and others, repeatedly showed videos of some of the tornadoes, especially that huge one. That largest one didn't look real. Looked like something out of a horror movie. It was a living breathing dark monster with fiery lightening in it and parts of houses floating around its perimeter miles way up in the air. Power was lost to a nuclear power plant, but nothing went wrong there. Everything went exactly as planned for such emergencies. Whew!
Then immediately, before all that was over, the flooding started. Record winter snows in the north melted and record breaking rainfall in many places have pushed and changed the wonderful Mississippi River into an unstoppable nightmare. Usually, it is half a mile wide, now it is a few miles wide. The Corp. of Engineers had to blast a half mile long section of levee in order to relieve the pressure and to protect towns such as Cairo, a town of about 2,800 residents at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. That saved the town, but it flooded over 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri and a hundred homes. More homes and perhaps lives would have been lost in the town. The farmers were given prior notice of what was going to happen. All rivers feeding into the Mighty Mississippi are flooded throughout the midsection of the country from north to south. Towns and cities farther south are being flooded right now. So many homes are lost. To watch the TV interviews and reports from the homeowners is heart breaking. They have lost everything they had... all except one little four year old girl who had just had a birthday, her parents opted to take with them all her gifts and stuffed animals. They left everything else such as their household appliances and furnishings to the Mississippi. The flood walls protecting the city of Memphis, Tennessee were holding (the last I heard) and the crest was moving rapidly on toward New Orleans. Poor New Orleans still hasn't recovered from the floods of hurricane Katrina. Oh, woe! ... Now on to more pleasant topics... some fun humor, then a few pretty pictures to sweeten this grim post.
Remember last time we were discussing language and speech of different accents, brogues, and dialects. I remembered a fun video I had seen so I want to share the link to it. Bill Cosby is one of our U.S. comedians. I have loved him for years for all the fun, giggles, and laughter he has given me. I don't know what the show is that was taped, but in the video he is talking to a woman from South Carolina. Now, if you people in Europe have never heard our deep south, South Carolina accent you are in for a treat. I hope you don't think I am making fun of this cute lady, because I am not. My western Tennessee accent is nothing like the South Carolina one, and I think hers is delightful, and she is charming. He plays along with her and it is fun.
Reminds me of the one and only time (don't go away, I'll give you the link in a minute) I was in Victoria Station in London, England (I have to write 'England', because we have Londons all over the place here in the states.) I was sitting there reading when a dear, poor, rawboned, little woman sat down beside me on the bench. I'm sure she was not as old as she looked; she appeared to have a hard life. She was thin, her dress was short, thin, and had short sleeves. It was a cold morning in late February. She cupped a flimsy cup of hot coffee in her hands. She spoke to me, smiling with sad teeth. I smiled back. She chatted on... I looked at this poor dear little woman and thought to myself: why can't I understand her! I speak English! She is speaking MY language! Why can't I understand her?! I think she was saying something about the warm coffee. I thought perhaps she was a cleaning woman on her way home from cleaning during the night. (I have a wide imagination.) I was miserable because I had to guess at what she was saying... in .. the .. thickest .. cockney .. I have .. ever heard on earth! It was delightful, but I felt so stupid. I managed smiles, nods, and a few agreeable sounds that she could interpret any way she pleased. Soon our train arrived. I will never forget her.
Now for Bill Cosby, and then I hope to have pretty photos below, thanks to Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer. The photos were taken yesterday.
Dame's Rocket and Poppies
Rocket and Soloman's Seal
Tall Bearded (German) Iris in the Hanging Gardens, Rocket along the sides. Down below there is a new project in progress.
Thank you for stopping by.