The Great Gray-Green Greasy Limpopo Storm

It was a hot morning in July 1980. I was living in a loverly but rickety old second floor apartment on North Seventh St. on the Planet Ann Arbor. I took that place over from The Marquis and The Grand Poohbah of RegenAxe and when I moved out, my buddy Jim Carpenter moved in. (Jim, where are you and how are you doing? Google me!!) The GG was unemployed during the summer of 1980 for probably the only time in his life. It was hard times for a lot of folks that year. When he wasn’t meeting with job recruiters or otherwise pursuing decent employment in the computer information technology industry, he was hanging out on the Seventh St. front porch watching neighborhood life go by.

Me? I was getting up and going to work over there at “that darn” EPA every morning. I would get up and pour myself a bowl of cheerios and eat it down on the front porch. July 16th. I got up and ate my cheerios. Everything was all right. It was sunny, I think. The house faced east and I didn’t look at whatever might be going on to the west. We were not as plugged in back in those days. I didn’t even have a radio or TV on that morning. Who knew that a derecho was on the way? Who knew what the heck a derecho was?

I got into my cute little Ford Fiesta that morning, the vee-hickle that later became “Mommy’s Little Gold Car”, and drove to work. I apparently never looked out the back window because it wasn’t until I got out of my car at work that I noticed the sky was looking a little dark to the west. A half hour later or so, I happened to walk out into the lobby and the sky was DARK GREEN!!! Like midnight, except green. Yiiiy!!! The authorities ordered us all to congregate in a conference room. This conference room was in a part of the building that was basically a big trailer. That didn’t seem very safe but it was arguably safer than hanging out back in the lab with the gas cylinders and things. It would’ve been really fun if a tornado had rolled through and unhinged a bunch of those things.

In the end, as scary as the storm looked, we were unscathed, as were most people here on the planet. As destructive as the derecho was, there was no tornado anywhere. The GG, who will go outside *during* a tornado, had a fantabulous time back in the rickety old Seventh St. kitchen, watching large trees bend wildly back and forth. Fortunately, no trees fell on that house but *many* trees fell in West Park, across the street from us.

The photoooo? That was from this morning. A big storm rolled through and the sky was pretty darn green but, to tell the truth, that photo is a little greener than reality. I could’ve corrected the color but I didn’t. Our storm this morning was not a derecho and, as far as I know, trees were not down everywhere on the Planet Arbor like they were after the July 1980 derecho. A couple of us walked into the lunchroom and calmly watched the storm roll through. Life went on and that little lighted rectangle is just a fuzzy little glimpse of my workplace reflected in the glass.

3 Responses to “The Great Gray-Green Greasy Limpopo Storm”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I think we’re getting a storm this Friday–welcome to the weekend. We’re getting a BIT waterlogged over here. Sun, where are you?

  2. laurie Says:

    oh that green sky can be so scary. we had a tornado whoosh through our neighborhood a few years ago on Mother’s Day. it cut a straight line from the state fair grounds to lake phalen. and what’s smack iin between those two points? our house. all that happened was a tree fell on our house but it could have been much worse. (things can always get worse, she said cheerfully!)

    i was standing on the upstairs back porch, looking out at the western sky, admiring how dark green it was becoming, and then i thought, “that freight train sure is loud.” because we live two blocks from the RR tracks. but of cousre it wasn’t a freight train, it was the wind. and it got louder and louder and louder and suddenly i thought, “i should be in the basement,” which is where my husband and dogs were, and i left the porch and headed for the stairs when BANG!!!!!! and i looked and saw tree branches swaying against the window.

    wowser. our dogs are still terrified of storms, to this very day.

  3. Sam Says:

    Never heard derecho used for weather; thanks for educating me!