Pete's News


Howdy folks! This here's ol' Pete and Rosebud comin' at you again!

Me and the mule has been pickin' up the pieces up here this week. We had a storm up here in the holler. Had a little hail, some wind and lightenin'. The wind blowed a piece of the tin roofin' off'n the front porch. The nails was worked loose and when the wind caught it, it just took 'er off purty as you please. I ort to have had it nailed down better, but I hate to get up there on that tin roofin'. Walkin' on it ain't good for it. Besides, it was a purty bad storm. They was some trees down up the holler a ways. They wasn't none down here on our place, but I reckon it was worser up there than it was down here. Wasn't nobody hurt, though. That's the main thing. You can put things back together that's tore up, but you can't put people back together that's been blowed away by one of them tornadoes. Course ole man Sawyer got blowed away by that'un we had up here and it never hurt him none. It's a wonder he wasn't, though. As far as I know, we ain't never had none before. I reckon the one that he got caught up in was the onliest one. It was a bad'un, though. I remember it well.

It was about this time of year, maybe a little later. I remember me and Rosebud had been outside doin somethin' that day and I remember it was cloudy and awful hot. It must have been up in the high nineties. They ain't nothin' odd about it gettin' that hot, but it usually starts coolin' off some along about now. And they wasn't no breeze that day. It was just as still and quiet as it could be. I remember the sweat was just a drippin' off me and her both. Still and all, we didn't pay it much attention 'til after lunch. Along about noon, we broke off work and come to the house to get us a drink of water and somethin' to eat. I remember I turned on the radio to see what cattle was sellin' for. I ain't got no cows or hawgs, but I still like to keep up with what they're bringin' on the market. Who knows? I might want to get me a few hawgs if the price gets right. Anyway, we eat some dinner and rested while I listened to the market report. We was prob'ly in there a hour or maybe a little less. It wasn't no longer'n that.

When we went back out to work, everthing was different somehow. It was still hot and cloudy, but it was. . . different. It was too quiet for one thing. Even when it's quiet, there's still a lot of little sounds bein' made. You get used to 'em and don't hear 'em no more. Rirds twitterin', bugs buzzin', leaves rustlin'— You don't know they're there 'til they stop. Then, when they're gone, you miss 'em and you know somethin's wrong. That's what it was like when we got back outside. The only time it's dead quiet is in the deepest part of the winter, when it's real cold and there's a snow on the ground. Snow soaks up noise. You can go out at night and stand real still and hold your breath and hear your heart beatin'. That's the way it was out there that day. Everthing was just froze. It was spooky.

Another thing that was spooky was the sky. It was cloudy, but the clouds had took on a greenish cast. Cloudy skies are gray or blue-gray, but while we was eatin' dinner, they turned this sickenin' lookin' greenish color. I took one look at the sky and I knowed they was gonna be a bad storm. My daddy used to say that when the sky turned green lookin', that it was a tornado sky. I turned to Rosebud and told her they was a bad storm fixin' to come up and we needed to keep our eyes open.

Well, Rosebud didn't pay me no attention. She ain't as scary about storms as some mules is. She ain't near as scared as she prob'ly ort to be. They ain't no sense in bein' just deathly afeared of storms, but they is such a thing as havin' enough sense to come in out of a bad storm. I think she figgered I was makin' too much out of a odd-colored sky , that there wasn't nothin' to get upset about. Then she got to noticin' how quiet everthing had got too. She didn't say nothin', but she got to flickin' her ears around ever which way. That's how you can tell when she starts gettin' disturbed about somethin'. You see them big long ears go to flickin' around ever whichaway. I told her maybe we ort to go check out the storm cellar.

Rosebud hates that cellar worser'n anything. To tell the truth, I ain't got no use for it either. But it's better than maybe gettin' yourself blowed away. It was built before we ever moved up here and whoever made it cut back into a dirt bank over there on the south side of the house. They walled up the sides with some ole scrap cement blocks and whatever they could get their hands on. Then they drug up some good size saw logs and laid 'em over the top of it and then covered them logs over with dirt that come out of the hole and roofed it over to keep it dry. You went in at the front, down a set of stairs cut into the dirt and they was a big heavy door at the bottom. It had a log chain nailed to the inside and you could chain it shut after you went in. That was to keep you from gettin' sucked out if a tornado was to hit.

The ole logs was gettin' kinda rotten, but it was still a purty good place to go if they was a bad storm. But it shore wasn't somewhere you'd want to spend much time if they wasn't a bad storm. It was dark and damp and full of crickets. Them crickets would set on them logs in the ceilin' and jump down on your head when you went in. That's what Rosebud hated so bad about it. She couldn't stand them crickets jumpin' on her back. She just couldn't hardly stand it. And she wouldn't have gone in that day if we hadn't seen that tornado comin' up the holler down there.

(More about this next week.)

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