Friday, April 11, 2008

Dodging Weather Threats

I've been a little concerned about what the weather might hold for us on our trip. Some of the areas we are headed to have been receiving massive loads of rain and have been flooding. I was encouraged by an Internet forecast that said one band of showers was going to pass through and then we could anticipate relatively good weather for the rest of the trip. Well, the band of showers passed through late this afternoon and it was a little bit scary.

Up until about 4PM, we had a very successful day. We spent the morning in the Anniston Public Library, looking up those dead ancestors. We then embarked on a quest to locate the approximate homestead site of Lana's ancestor for a round of picture taking. That accomplished, we headed to Ohatchee where our friends were involved in setting up for a Civil War re-enactment to take place this weekend.

We are definitely in Dixie Land.

The re-enactment is taking place at Janney's Furnace, where the Union army blew the top out of a furnace, disabling the manufacture of Confederate ammunition. It's a great, great big fireplace.

So big you can stand up in it.

Just up from the furnace is a memorial wall with the names of all the men who served the Confederacy from Calhoun County, Alabama. The folks around here still honor their Confederate ancestors.

Some of the early arrivals had already set up camp.

And they brought the big guns.

We took a picturesque back road into the registration area for the participants.

Alabama is a lot prettier than I remembered from childhood. I have to say, however, that we never really gave it a chance. Our one trip through on a vacation long, long ago was a mad dash from New Orleans to Atlanta. All I remembered about Alabama was the Interstate and a lot of green. I was surprised to find that the northern part of Alabama is mountainous and we drove down to Gadsden on winding roads lined with pines, spruce trees and showy white and pink dogwood blossoms peeking out everywhere. The dogwood is unbelievably gorgeous.

We were headed back to our hotel and supper with our friend when the weather suddenly became threatening. We were startled when a high-pitched whine suddenly erupted around us and we both thought we had suffered a flat tire. We pulled over in a panic and then realized a lot of other people were pulling over, too. It turns out that this area has an active civil defense system and it was the sirens issuing a weather warning. After the sirens blast you into a state of panic, a voice comes echoing out from somewhere (our friend has lived here 2 years and doesn't know where the speakers are), warning everyone to seek cover. For a minute it was almost like having the voice of God delivering a message.

We had been heading for her house to see her newly remodeled kitchen and to let her dog out for a run, so we just settled in there and waited out the storm. Her dog turned out to be a Jack Russell Terrier, which is like a rat terrier only 3 times the size. Mosby is normally worried by storms, but he seemed to sense that I was more agitated than he was and he entertained me by sitting close, rolling over so I could scratch his belly, snuffling all over my purse checking out the Mojo and Coco scent and just generally being adorable. He even let me have a nose bump. He was quite the little welcome distraction.

After about an hour, the weather began to clear. There were reports of funnel clouds and baseball-sized hail and uprooted trees, but we saw only rain. And a very cute dog.

Tomorrow we head for Lentzville. I'll be interested to see if Grandma makes the trip with us. I'm betting I get one of my odd hunches sometime tomorrow.


No comments: