Fresh From the Backyard Grill

It’s a stormy Sunday afternoon and evening. There have been tornado warnings. I’m grilling shrimp kabobs–under porch roof, of course.

Different things run in and out of my mind. Not getting wet on trips back to the house is of utmost importance. Not overcooking the shrimp is secondary.

Remedies for baldness always amuse me. Not that I have an excess of hair at my age. Such remedies have been around for ages.

Do they work? It’s difficult for me to fathom how fibers from an “overgrown pepper shaker” would bring relief. If they give those challenged by the lack of hair some satisfaction–I’m all right with it.

Another “screen grabber” extolled a scientific discovery that all life may have originated on Mars. That would certainly be at odds with the “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” way of thinking.  These stories repeat themselves with regularity.

Jury Duty, Day #1

Everything was out of synch.  Didn’t sleep well, for fear of being late.  Severe storms were predicted for the next day.

These were the same storms that wreaked havoc in Texas, Louisiana, and throughout the Southeast.  I arrived at the courthouse in plenty of time, in the midst of a driving rainstorm.

There lots of other potential jurists congregated, with umbrellas, wet clothing–like myself.  I was surprised, and at the same time gratified, that court proceedings had been cancelled for the day.

Back home safely, to return tomorrow, for another day.  Weather is supposed to be better tomorrow.

Morning Thunder

First cup of coffee, this early Saturday morning, to the accompaniment of thunder and lightning.  Backlash from Hermine–perhaps?  Or, am I being punished for being so hard to get along with lately?  Perhaps, it’s some of both.

One thing is for sure–storm fury is amplified under cover of darkness.  All will be well when exposed to the light of day.  The same is true in life.  Storms are frightening, but somewhere, someone needed the rain.


mammatus clouds

Angry storm clouds
Blackened, like hate
Boiled, bubbled
Hurled, blinding
Lightning bolts
Thunder rumbled
Rain curtain
Fell in torrents
Wind blew, in
Blustery gusts

Hate, left
Promised, to
Never return
Came back
Bashed down
Hope’s door
Laughed, and
Said–I lied!
Hate, once
Let in, never
Went away

–Photo by Craig Roberts–

Electric Skies

lightning mobile bay NWSThor’s thrown hammer
Thundered, reverberated
Shook earth to its core
Jagged, plasma torched
White-hot arms
Spontaneously spread
Across hot, humid
Night skies

Electrified branches
Crackled, like
Sparks, from
A million campfires
Reflected, in
Waters, of
Mobile Bay

–Photo NWS Mobile, AL–

Fear of Flying

We completed the first leg of our return trip–arrived an hour late.  The two-hour layover allowed us to stretch our legs and take a break from in flight meals.  Flight staff allowed persons with connecting flights to disembark first.  That was a nice gesture.  A little after one in the morning, we departed for Houston International Airport–the second leg of our journey.

Severe thunderstorms over the Houston area delayed the flight.  It was a bumpy ride.  Lightning flashed, rain pelted the aircrafts metal skin.  Because of being awake all night, things seemed magnified.  My stomach was tied up in knots.  I hated to use cramped airplane bathrooms.  Would someone please sit down and let me take my turn?  It didn’t happen, so I used the restroom in first class.  Apparently, that was a no-no.  As if riff-raff from coach, like me, somehow lowered the status of first class passengers.

I nervously checked my watch.  Our one hour layover disappeared like an ice-cube on a hot summer day.  The flight staff congregated at the front of the plane.  They didn’t seem to have any worries–laughing, telling jokes–having a good time.  Would we miss our connecting flight?  Why couldn’t the flight staff let us get off first?  This time there were no miracles.  I expressed concerns to one of the staff members.  She suggested informing the gate agent at the end of the ramp.  Meanwhile, we waited for everyone else to disembark.

There was now only twenty-five minutes to catch our connecting flight.  It would be a challenge.  We were at Terminal “E” and had to be at Terminal “B.” The gate agent was no help.  His suggestion, “Well, you’ll just have to move faster and try for it.”  I, at least thought, he’d get us one of those airport courtesy golf carts.  That was our only chance.   I started out at a fast walk, my wife and carry-on baggage in tow.  My wife started hyperventilating from tension and frustration.  An airport staff worker saw us and offered a ride.  She took us to the tram and arranged for someone to pick us up at the other end.  We got to the gate just as our flight departed.

It was a helpless feeling.  We were at the mercy of the airline–not where I wanted to be.  My wife was in tears.  I tried to be stoic.  The next flight, at eleven in the morning, had been cancelled due to weather.  “Why don’t I route you through Tampa-St. Petersburg?”  The ticket counter person suggested.  “Are you nuts?” My wife responded.  “That’s an eight-hour drive east of where we live.”  Our alternate flight departed at two-thirty in the afternoon for Mobile, AL.  A neighbor came and drove us home from the airport.  It was a good thing–we’d now been awake thirty-six hours.

What did I carry from this?  …More examples of good and bad customer service.  The words of the Houston gate attendant, “You’ll have to move faster and try for it.”  Two contrasting flight crews, one on top of things, going out of their way to provide exemplary customer service.  The other crew, too self-absorbed to bother with needs of passengers.  The airport courtesy transportation people were great.  My flight, three years previous, had a five hour delay due to mechanical problems.  I don’t look forward to flying again.