Popular Posts

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Entry 104: 1972 Hail

        It was a gorgeous day.  The sky was filled with clouds of all colors.  There were grey, white, black, and yellowish colored clouds all mixed in patches of blue sky.  It was afternoon.  Larry was in Hughson picking up a project from the welder, Heidi was napping, and I was in the kitchen.  It began to rain.

At that time we had a carport in our backyard with an aluminum roof.  As the rain came down harder I could hear it from my kitchen.  It got louder and louder.  It became so loud I knew it could not be just rain.  Sure enough, when I looked out the kitchen window I could see hail bounding on the grass and sidewalk.  I ran outside to get a closer look.  It was huge, the biggest I ever did see. 

Larry wasn’t home.  I was so excited about the hail I wanted to be able to share it with him when he did get home and I wanted to show him.  I hurried back to the kitchen and grabbed by biggest bowls.  

When I got back outside the hail on the grass was about 6 inches deep.  I didn’t need to gather hail all I need to do was scoop it into the bowls.   I put two huge bowls full of hail into our chest freezer in our little red shed.
          I sat on the hood of the car watching and listening to the hail.  It lasted for about ten minutes.  When I returned to the kitchen I called my dad to tell him what had happened.  I told him it was about 8 inches deep and everywhere.
I woke Heidi and took her outside to see the hail.  It was spring but I put a sweater and gloves on her.  She loved it.  We threw it at one another.  We were having a great time when Larry drove in.
          By the look on his face when he saw me I thought something awful must have happened in Hughson.  I was laughing and playing when I stood to greet him.  “Look, isn’t this great, I’ve never seen anything like this before.  I saved some in the freezer for you to see in case this all melted before you got back!”  

          Larry looked like someone had punched him.  He looked me square in the eye and said, “Good, I hope you are enjoying it.  It just cost us our whole crop!”  With that being said he stormed into the house and grabbed the phone.
          I followed him in disbelief.  I stood at the door with Heidi in my arms.  Her gloves and sweater had big balls of hail stuck to them.  I started picking the hail off Heidi and putting it into the sink as I listened to Larry talking to his dad on the phone.
          “It got everything dad.  It got from our road to Lombardy.  It’s all gone!”  He started calling out familiar names of different families who live on our road.  He would say the name and it got them or it didn’t get them.  He looked sicker and sicker as he talked.  The storm had dropped hail only on our ranch and two or three others.  It had bypassed neighbors and jumped farms.  It reminded me of how tornadoes hit and miss in a neighborhood.  It had taken some of a few orchards but it had taken all of ours!
          Larry said as he drove through the storm to see our orchards the hail was coming down so hard it stalled our car by filling in the drain and drowning the engine.    
There was a big write up about the hail storm and the path it took in the Turlock Journal.  Anytime we get hail here it is no larger than a BB or a pea.  It is usually so soft it melts immediately when you touch it.  This storm had dropped hail the size of a fifty cent piece and even bigger and they were hard like chunks of ice.  

Before the hail hit our trees had the biggest bumper crop we’d ever had.  When the storm was over we had nothing.  Our crop was gone!  We were devastated!    Gone was an entire year of Larry working, of hired workers, of pruning, irrigating, renting bees, weed control, and fertilizing.  Our crop loan money had been spent for the year.  We were counting on harvest to repay the bank but we had no harvest.   
The hail storm was a wake up call for me about what it means to be a farm wife!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing in my life's journey. If you don't leave a comment I have no way of knowing you stopped by. I do hope you enjoy reading of my life as much as I have enjoyed living it! Joyce